fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

Final September Catch-up: Williamsburg Storytelling Weekend

In between the two storytelling performances I posted videos of, I went to Williamsburg for a storytelling weekend. This was the annual concert / workshop event that Sheila Arnold and Darci Tucker produce and this year’s featured teller / instructor was Syd Lieberman. I’d gotten the package through a bid in the National Storytelling Network’s on-line auction last year. This year’s auction approacheth, by the way, and I am sure there are all sorts of goodies to bid on.

Williamsburg is not actually that far, but one needs to leave lots of extra time because there is always a traffic mess on I-95 around Quantico. I timed things well enough to have time for a quick dinner before the Friday night concert, which had a Civil War theme. That was interpreted loosely. For example, Darci performed her adaptation of The Tempest. The main feature was Syd’s story, Abraham and Isaac. The Abraham in question was, of course, Lincoln, while the Isaac was a Union soldier. It’s a well-structured piece and I want to particularly note how effectively Syd used song within the story.

There was a Friday night reception but I was way too tired to be sociable at that point. So I headed over to the Doubletree, where I had gotten a good rate for the night. To my infinite annoyance, they now have free wifi only in the lobby. Their excuse is that they changed ISPs. This is not actually a reasonable explanation, but, beyond that, if you are going to make people sit in the lobby to check their email, you need more comfortable seating than they had. I won't be staying there again.

I should also note that there is apparently a law in Williamsburg requiring the presence of a pancake house every 50 feet or so. Nobody has been able to explain this to me, nor is there any evidence I am aware of that 18th century Virginians were particularly known for eating pancakes. It does, however, provide plenty of inexpensive options for breakfast.

As for the workshop itself, I won’t say a lot since I don’t consider it ethical to talk about other people’s work-in-progress. Overall, I can’t say that Syd told us anything I didn’t already know, but he did crystallize some points about historical stories. And, of course, workshops force people to work on things, which is the reason for going to them from time to time. There was an interesting mix of participants (including a girl in middle school and a boy in high school) and types of material people were working with. I brought out a story I have not told in some time and want to revive and got a few useful ideas.

Finally, we went out to dinner at Cristiana Campbell’s Tavern, which is gimmicky, but fun. The food is good enough, though a bit pricy. I had apple cider rum punch, a flounder special (which, like all entrees, came with rolls, sweet potato muffins, slaw, vegetables, rice, spoon bread, and so on), and rum cream pie for dessert.

Overall, it was a good weekend. Next year’s guest of honor is Carmen Deedy. I’m not sure if I can make it, but I am definitely interested.
Tags: storytelling, travel

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