By Tia Lynn Lecorchick Staff writer
Madison-Morgan Cultural Center (MMCC) held the second annual “Do Tell” storytelling event on April 4-5, with ticket prices ranging from $10 to $30. The event featured the following tellers: Donald Davis, a storyteller at the Smithsonian Institution; Barbara McBride-Smith, recipient of the John Henry Faulk Award for Outstanding Contributions to Storytelling; Esther Culver and Breyanne Culver, grandmother/granddaughter team from Atlanta’s Kuumba Storytellers, Inc., which is an affiliate of the National Association of Black Storytellers (NABS); and the talented Kennesaw State University (KSU) Tellers. Laura Driskill was the featured KSU teller at Saturday’s performance.
Rebecca Bonas, performing arts director for the MMCC, described the performance as “a side-splitting, thought-provoking grand finale performance with Tellers Esther Culver, Barbara McBride-Smith, and Donald Davis.” Davis told the MMCC, “If we become dedicated listeners to the stories of others, we get to live through experiences that lie outside the canon of our own experiences. It is a wonderful ride.” According to Bonas, Davis and McBride-Smith are often featured tellers at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN that draws 10,000 attendees annually.
The festival kicked off with the KSU Tellers and their professor, Charles Parrott, performing and discussing storytelling and personal narrative with three AP Lit classes at the Morgan County High School, said Bonas. Esther Culver and Breyanne Culver performed two separate times at the Morgan County Elementary school. On Apr. 5, the festival featured a free family workshop with Parrot, the KSU Tellers, and the Culvers. “Dr. Parrott and Esther presented examples of storytelling and introduced elements needed to create one’s own story. Participants crafted and performed for the group.
There was lots of laughing going on! It was a fun-filled experience for all,” said Bonas. Throughout the day, the storytellers performed a series of tales that entertained the crowds. “I think the audience was surprised at how funny the stories were and how relatable the tellers were,” said Bonas. “Storytelling is kind of a cross between stand-up comedy and a good dinner conversation. Life is funny, and people relate to the personal stories that the tellers tell; the stories make us think of our own memories and situations that we find ourselves in. Sometimes listening to someone else talk about their own experience gives us a new or different perspective on life events, and sometimes it’s just nice to laugh with a group of people.”