Weaving the tale

Sonali Bhatia

Soumya-Ayer-using-props-and-actions-to-bring-a-story-about-the-moon-to-life Having attended several storytelling sessions, I have noticed that the children in the audience are often mesmerized and enthralled by the tale, and remember events, characters and situations in various stories quite spontaneously and clearly.

What is it that storytellers do to make their tales memorable? How do they hold young children’s attention for up to an hour, and have them asking for more? Here are a few simple techniques many of them use:

A. The storyteller
The storyteller knows her/his story very well, and practises presenting it often before facing the audience. Many storytellers don’t read from a book or sheet, they know the story by heart and have a direct connection with the audience as they narrate it.

Storytellers use voice modulation, facial expression, and body language to good effect while narrating the story. They change pitch for different characters, increase the pace when the action heats up, and deliver dialogues in a stage-whisper to create suspense. Their faces mirror the happiness, sadness, anger or surprise that the characters feel, and often, they actually mime the actions the characters are performing in the story.

The author is an educator and freelance journalist based in Bengaluru. She can be reached at sonaliarun@gmail.com.

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