The Art of Storytelling

Imagine a place. A place where only silence exists. People gathered around a storyteller and wait silently with curious eyes. Storyteller gazes at each listener’s eye in that magical space of silence. S/he looks for the questions in those eyes and the trace of the stories that sprits would like to hear with their ears. Talking from deep inside without words, teller looks at all eyes. Silence. Silence. Silence…

First there was silence. Story is born out of this silence. Listeners become the midwife and the storyteller gives birth to the story out of herself. First words that come out of storyteller’s mouth are like the early daylight that penetrates darkness. Storyteller starts to fill the space with presence, quietness with sound, stillness with movement and the questions with answers. As the words glide from teller’s lips to emptiness, the doors are opened of an extraordinary, scary, peaceful, wild, ruthless, erotic, heroic, beautiful and enchanted world. Teller and the
listener begin to walk around in this unseen, magical world that can be felt by everyone in that place. They travel together to the end of the world, to the underworld, to a long-gone past and to a winking future. Listener and the teller become companion in this journey, they feel together, they coalesce.

Storytelling that creates such a magical atmosphere, is one of the oldest arts. Its history is over more than 3000 years. It survived till today in spite of social and political changes in human history. It’s stil a symbol for living human as it was 3000 years ago. Despite the fact that, it’s faded into oblivion in Anatolia, we can stil see ancient wisdom of this art in Anatolian traditions, in the language of grandfathers and grandmothers, in the quiet rhythm of nature.

Three essential components are needed for storytelling; teller, listener and a story. It’s told with three apples in Anatolian oral traditions. At the end of the stories three apples fall down from the sky; one for the storyteller, one for the listener and the last one is for the story. This ancient wisdom tells us how important teller-listener-story triangle is for the storytelling art to occur.

Storyteller tells tale, myth, folktale, saga, wisdom stories and fables in oral traditions. S/he takes the story out from the past, refines it and make it wear the present age’s dress. Teller works on the material delicately in the manner of her/his era’s questions and quests. Sometimes storyteller blends oral telling products with her/his own biography and with the products from written literature. In this blending process, s/he re-creates an oral expression for her/his story and re-tells it in her/his way. S/he looks for the answers to her/his age’s existential questions through the stories she or he picks.

When a storyteller begins to tell a story, the boundries of that place disappear, clocks stop, time vanishes. What really matters become the reality of the dream. Storyteller is a wizard who makes the dream real. Storyteller is a player who enjoys playing with the story and with the listeners. Storyteller is a wise person who loves conversation and communication.

While creating this magical world, storyteller smartly uses language, body, voice, breath and the space. Makes eye contact with the audience. S/he blends the story with that unique voice that comes from her/his existence and creates her/his own song. A storyteller distils from her/his own experience. S/he doesn’t explain the story, just tells it. As storyteller tells the story s/he opens up an invisible area in the space and teller starts to fade from the scene. Story meets directly with the sprit of listeners and is transformed to their own story. By leaving the story and the listeners together and alone, storyteller becomes the unseen entity, so to speak, an unseen entity which gives its color to the story. It’s there and it isn’t at the same time.

When the story ends, story and listeners change as well as the storyteller does. And three apples fall down from the sky. Apples are eaten silently. A connection is made with the ancient wisdom…