26 February 2011

Kamishibai meets Australian Tall Story: Storytelling NFFC style.

An evening spent with the NFFC in an evening well spent.

The club celebrates the traditional, the original, the classic, the folk, the beginner and the maestro. Storytelling as anecdote, bush ballad, Shakespeare … are all shared and aired in the mix of fiddles, guitars, banjos and tin whistles.

Creative collisions and collaborations are frequent. Here’s a fine example …

As one of the club’s storytellers, I just happened to mention to fellow clubber, Ted Smith (guitarist, reciter, humourist), that I was interested in the Japanese art of Kamishibai storytelling. Kamishibai means ‘paper theatre’. The theatre is an exquisite wooden box that opens out into a picture frame. The storyteller needs a story and a set of illustrations to slide in and out of the frame as they tell the story.

Ted generously set about making a Kamishibai. After studying many images from the internet and drawing his own plan, he built the theatre using recycled Australian Eucalyptus. While the building was taking place I, with the help of partner John Kean, worked on the first story and set of picture cards.

For a while now I’ve been interested in breathing life into the Aussie Tall Story and this seemed like the perfect way to enliven an old genre.

On Friday night, the tale of Split Dog was launched to great applause and smiles all round. I’m in no doubt, that we have created something new to share with you all. And now I look forward to developing more stories and more creative collisions.

As I type, NFFC’s Leonie Kervin (artist, bush orchestra, songwriter) is creating a set of cards for the Kamishibai. Watch this space!

You can see Ted/Jackie's/Leonie's Kamishibai in action during the Newport Folk Festival in July.

Jackie Kerin (Ukulele, Choir, storyteller)

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