Our human mind may have some limit in mathematics, science, logic but when it comes to imagination,the brain knows no boundaries. That’s the beauty of wishful thinking. It eliminates obstacles. I realize that you should never estimate ‘wishful thinking’ because as what they said, “Thoughts becomes things. ” Hold on to your wish list and be careful what you wish for.
One of the things included in my wish list is to perform storytelling in a big venue. I even wrote this down last year on my blog post. I said, “I don’t just want to read a book in front of the kids. I want performance level. (hehe) I want to wear a costume and do some little effects.”
Like a prophecy fulfilled, I joined a new storytelling group, Storyhouse. It was founded by Jay Menes. He is the first Filipino member of International Storytelling Network Red Internacional de Cuentacuentos.
I support the cause of this group, no matter how small and how informal this group is. For one thing, this is a breath of fresh air. We often see storytellers hold a book but with Storyhouse, storytellers don’t read aloud. The storyteller’s body is his main medium.
Also, it’s one way of going back to our literary roots. Oral interpretation was one of earliest forms of entertainment. The kings and laymen hired minstrels. Shakespeare’s long lines on stage were palatable. Poets were heard everywhere, not only in an English Literature class. Popular epics across the world such as Iliad and Biag ni Lam-ang were passed by mouth not through a movie screen. Our Muslim brothers have rich literature in oral tradition. Today, these are replaced by movies, TV shows, and video games. We want something that’s easy on the senses. Listening like reading requires additional neurons of our brain to paint a picture. I guess that’s how oral tradition stopped becoming a tradition. And with the aid of printing press, the presence of a storyteller is no longer significant. This is the challenge of a storyteller: How to steal three to five minutes from modern human beings who have short attention span in listening.
I only wished to perform in a book store but never did I think of storytelling in a museum. We did our storytelling in Museo Pambata. That is the ideal place to perform if your target audience are kids. It was not my best storytelling act but that was a good start.
I like watching plays. For one reason, every action and every line on stage is done by an artist’s interpretation. A play may resemble a story in real life but its presentation will never be something close to real life. Theater follows some conventions that are not applied in reality. We don’t sing when we talk to people like those in musical theater. When we talk to ourselves, we don’t speak out loud, the way an actor delivers a monologue. Of course, concerts are also an artist’s invention that gets instant reaction from audience. But in theater, all elements on stage are intertwined. The panels on stage, the lights hanging, the actors moving on certain directions, the props, and the costume are not separate elements but all fall in a collaboration. And this leads me to compare life like theater.
Life is like theater. It is not a series of random events. It is an organized chaos. When a crowd quarrels on stage, they do not look in disorder. It involves some blocking and choreography. All these; fingers pointing, eyes squinting, walking from downstage to upstage are building a story. A story is a series of interrelated events.
Everything that is on stage is there for a reason. Actors are taught to enter the stage with a reason. Actors don’t show the audience that they enter on cue. Professional actors do not show movements because those are part of their choreography. They dance because they are happy. A prince enters the stage because he is going to meet his princess. Sometimes, an actor does not know how to execute what the director wants him to do. When he dances on stage, all the audience can see are dance routines. He has the moves but he does not have the mind of the choreographer. He does not know the reason he is speaking his lines or doing a movement. In occasions like this, the actor perhaps might be shortsighted on what the director wants to achieve on a scene. He does not know the story or perhaps he does not know how he can contribute to the story.
In life, we may be like this actor. We cannot do what is required. We question circumstances in our lives. We just have to trust our Director above, who sees the entirety of every scene in our lives, that everything we do will fall in the right place. For we are merely players as Shakespeare said. Sometimes, we are poor in wisdom that we cannot see the bigger picture and the bigger reason. We just do not have the mind of our Director.
Treat life as a stage. Do your part or do some parts. Have faith in your Director that all the things you do will work accordingly. Whether you are working on the sounds and adding lights in stage, singing in a chorus, God is weaving a beautiful story in you.
 (My professor Theater 100 in college said, “You don’t watch a ‘play’. You read a ’play’ and watch a ‘performance’. Perhaps for academic purposes, this is how they use the word ‘play’ but for some publications like guardian, the ‘play’ is the play we know”)