Rogue Report

Well, the Rogue Festival is over for this year. Until next March. I look forward to coming back.

Because I had asked for a small "cafe" venue I was assigned to Ashtree Studios, a comfortable stand alone building with art on all the walls. For my four sets over the two week-ends I combined folktales with personal stories, letting whatever happened during the day suggest which personal story to tell. The audiences were responsive and I was delighted to have a review printed in the "Undercurrent."

A reviewer in the "Undercurrent" wrote -
Yesterday's Secrets - Old Tales of Magic, Mystery, and Romance
Posted March 1st, 2008 by cdfierro

"Ellouise Schoettler's show was pleasant. I know that when we use the word pleasant, it is usually in conjunction with a Sunday walk, or the smell of flowers in bloom. I only partly mean that Ellouise's show was this type of pleasant. The show was storytelling, traditional storytelling, and in that sense it was pleasant like that Sunday stroll, or fresh flowers. However, I don't want you to think that this was storytelling to do by the bedside. This was the kind of storytelling that you would imagine was done before the advent of radio, TV, or even the printed word.

The cadence of Ellouise's words worked well with the depth, sharpness, softness of the words that Ellouise used to tell her stories. The stories that were told spanned regions (old Mexico with witches and corrupt judges; Egypt with tales of love and being true to oneself; English tales of a serial wedder/killer; and a fish tale from Ireland), time and topics. And it was pleasant, in the best possible way."


The major excitement of the Rogue comes from seeing the works of other performers.

Ryan Paulson and his "Wisconsin Pentecostal" solo show. Its a young man's passage story and blends music and storytelling in a heartwarming story of youthful disillusionment and experience. Paulson is a fresh talent briming who engages his audience. I look forward to seeing more of his work.

San Francisco writer and performer Lynn Ruth Miller wears her 74 years with pride and says," my life as a performer began at 71 and its getting better all the time."
Her heartwarming stories of her immigrant childhood in Toledo are captivating and touching. Filled with characters who loved each other, they combine humor, nostalgia and sweetness. Part of the delight of her performance is watching her enjoy being with her audiences.

Colorado performer Barry Smith put forth a very interesting and challenging program, The American Squatter, which is a story that is every parent's worst nightmare - an adolescent rebellion that rides along a drug trail that ends in a "squat" in London where the group lives in filth and barely knows it. Those familliar with his trip enjoyed the program; those who have not traveled this road are relieved that he survived. It is a very well-constructed piece which combines a Powerpoint album to move the story along. I was fascinated by his successful use of technology and storytelling.

Fresno performer,Tony Imperatrice combined music and storytelling to weave the story," I was a Sexually Confused Teen-ager." Tony has a wonderful voice and I enjoyed the way he used a few bars of well-chosen tunes from the times to strengthen the story and move it forward. Although he told it well, I could not fully relate to his tale of young male's macho conquests - a gender difference, I guess. But I did appreciate his willingness to make himself vulnerable for the sake of the story. I missed his show last year, "The Confessions of a Church Organist" - I am looking forward to his show next year,

Fresno performance artist, Mallory Moad, put on a fascinating show using video and personal performance to give a real time persona to a migraine headache. The interactions between Moad as the real-life heachache victim and Moad as the pre-filmed video headache persona were intriguing.

There was many more performances scheduled during the two week-ends. This barely scratches the surface. Unlike the classic storytelling festival where all focus is on storytelling - the variety of talent and performances gives the Rogue a special richness.

Could it be that I am becoming a fringe convert? Well, I do admit - - I like them.I want to see more fringe festivals - how about in Canada or the grand-daddy of them all Edinburgh, Scotland. Hmmmmmm.


Tim said...

My favorite part of the Rogue is getting to see so many interesting shows. (And I've met Tony and Mallory and they are very nice people as well).
I'm glad you enjoyed your run at the Rogue!


Tim, Glad you brought that up. All the folks we met at the Rogue were welcoming and fun. Talking with the crowd while standing in line to "get in" added to the Rogue experience. Everyone was there to have a good time and enjoy the art - many of them also performers themselves. Ellouise

Granny Sue said...

I'm intrigued, Ellouise. I like the variety you describe. Although it sounds like mostly storytelling with music and/or technology were the main differences between traditional storytelling and the performances you saw. Or was there something else that really identified these as something other than storytelling? I mean, lots of storytellers use music in their work--so what made these different? That's what I'm trying to see. As for the techno bits, haven't many tellers also been doing that for years? Seems like it was 10 years ago or longer when David Holt was doing his thundersuit thing, and using big photos as part of his act.

So what exactly makes the performances in this festival "rogue" or fringe? Curious minds want to know :-)

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