9/20/2008

From Williamsburg


Warm and sunny day. Williamsburg looking fine.

Yesterday was the "school" day for the Williamsburg Festival. The tents were filled with school kids laughing and clapping, wiggling and singing. It was great energy. And it fueled the storytellers to better and better.

Bobby Norfolk was a highlight of the day for me.
Norfolk draws the audience into his stories. He tells stories with full body energy and he surprises everyone with the voices and sound effects he creates to bring them to life. Kids love it. Everyone ones it.
Jim and I were surrounded by fourth graders during his set and they were so loving his every word and move and sound. I really enjoyed Norfolk's version of Wiley and the Hairy Man and so did every other person in the tent. He peppered the story with three good jumps and everyone screamed and laughed. He also does a great rant of the Three Billy Goats Gruff.
Last night was a "taste" of all the national tellers. Each one told a fifteen minute story. All were good. Two stood out for me - Waddie Mitchell, the cowboy poet - is a teller I had never heard before and he was really in top form last night telling one funny work and a second that I found surprisingly touching. His delivery was flawless. Donald Davis ended the evening with a lovely story about his father - I have heard the story before but last night it touched me more deeply as I heard the level beneath the laughs. He is an expert at telling a story that plays all the emotional chords.

I am telling today. A half-hour with Art Johnson at mid-day and a ten minute story in the eveing line-up. And, I will MC for Milbre Burch's solo set. Fun Ahead.

On a personal note. Jim and I are staying at the Governor's Inn, one of the older Colonial Williamsburg motels. Its near Bassett Hall - not for walking for me but a short drive. It is set on the "other" side of a railroad track - a heavily trafficed freight track. We have an end unit on the first floor - a real gift - which is maybe 100 to 150 feet from the track. When the train is coming a bell rings and the red and white crossing bars go down. As the train lumbers past our room shakes a bit and fills with the familiar sound of steel wheels on steel tracks.

Do you think I am complaining? Not at all. This is the music of my childhood. I grew up in the Elizabeth section of Charlotte, NC - near Granny and always close to the Pecan Avenue train crossing. This is familiar - makes Williamsburg feel like home.

3 comments:

Louise said...

I was in Williamsburg this past weekend and Ellouise I have to say you by far were one of my absolute favorites. I loved the Dalmatian tale or (Tail) but the poignant tale of Tatoo was very stirred my very soul.

The festival is the focal point of an annual gathering (not that we don't gather more than that) for my mom and my sister and our kids (ages 8-18). We all enjoy the festival so much. We had such beautiful weather this weekend and your stories only made it that much better.

I do have a problem. I lost a package with your Vigilante cd and I hope somebody benefits from finding it but I would like to purchase it again from you but don't know how. could you contact me at tobntuscany@msn.com ( I too love everything Italian though I am of Irish heritage) so I can make arrangements to purchase it. I live in Manassas so I hope I can visit Chevy Chase area to hear more of your tales. Forever a fan

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