24.05.2016 19:31

Storytelling evening in Amsterdam

Autor: Inamjan Ibragimov | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

On a typical Friday night, a group of people is gathering in a book café in the old part of Amsterdam. Once everyone has settled in – about two dozens of people: young and old, those dressed up and those dressed rather casually, men and women – the man who has been welcoming everyone at the entrance asks us to introduce ourselves to the person next to us and exchange couple of facts with them. So what could a rogue folk guitarist and a student of Russian language and literature possibly have in common that led them to meet there?

This was a place for storytelling – an event organized by a group of writers, poets, musicians and storytelling enthusiasts. Not your average Friday night entertainment, I would say, but sounds intriguing! 

“Be warned: you might think you are not interested in stories, and try to pass by, but like vines, our tales spin themselves around you. You'll be stuck, you won't be able to go anywhere until you've listened all the way through!” said the Facebook page announcing the event. 

The host of the evening introduced himself as Simon Hodges, a writer originally from Great Britain; he has been calling Amsterdam home for the past few years. Right after introductions, he started with his first story. There were going to be three in the program, coincidentally all by him. However, as he had previously mentioned, anyone from the audience was free to contribute to this or future evenings with stories of their own.

Carefully choosing his words, and making deliberate pauses while maintaining eye contact with the audience, Hodges really had a way to get the listener’s attention. The stories that he chose were folk tales from Greek and Italian background. These myths and legends, dating back to thousands years ago still found interest in the contemporary listener’s heart. Along with the soft and calming voice of the storyteller, the warm and cozy-lit interior of an old bookshop created an atmosphere of warmth, reminding of almost the times of your grandmother telling you bedtime stories. After each story, the storyteller encourages the audience to reflect on the meanings of it, to look into the story together and see how they can enrich our own self-enquiry. 

The Boyhood of Raleigh by Sir John Everett Millais, wikipedia.org

“People need human contact, especially when a lot of daily activities happen online. They want a feeling of living in a community. Coming together and listening to a story gives a feeling of connection that so many of us miss” says Hodges. 

Indeed, in this digital age of nearly every person in the commute train or bus staring at the small screens on their hands, with people whose primary reading activities consist of Facebook statuses and 140 character-long tweets, the age of iPads and kindles, people have forgotten about the fascinating charismatic power of a good storytelling. The one that keeps you at the edge of your seat curious of what happens next, the one that leaves you hold your breath until the end of the sentence, and the one that gives you the space and opportunity to find relation to yourself and your life. People need this magic in their lives. Storytelling is not for kids only. It is time to bring the magic back.

Klíčová slova: storytelling evening

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