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It Takes Two • Telling Tandem


It Takes Two • Telling Tandem

It takes two to be a tandem storytelling team. You need one story with two people working as one to give a story wings. It is also more difficult to make it work well. So share what works and what doesn't.

Members: 49
Latest Activity: Mar 16, 2016

Tandem Telling is a Horse of a Different Color

Tandem Telling is a horse of a different color to quote from the Wizard of Oz. It is the marriage of two voices with one story. I find that telling tandem gives me the opportunity to tell more story with less effort because we are a team. The purpose of this group is for us to share with each other what works and doesn't and to help others in the storytelling community who are interested in this niche to learn about what it takes to tell tandem. I hope all who venture here will feel free to share.

Always a tale to tell and sometimes times two,
MyLinda Butterworth

Discussion Forum

tandem telling with a non-teller

Started by Kyle "the Unnecessary" Kissell Mar 14, 2013.

"A World of Storytelling" Radio Station

Started by Don 'Buck P' Creacy Aug 18, 2011.

A Tandem Tale with A Mystery

Started by Cindy Campbell Jul 16, 2009.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Eth-Noh-Tec on March 30, 2010 at 10:16am
Just came back from the Florida Storytelling Camp. We were able to present our "Tell it! Move it!" workshop for multiple tellers (tandem, trios, quartets and more). The tellers took the information and ran with it. It's such a marvel to see what 2, 3, 5 tellers working together as a storytelling ensemble can create.

Re: Florida Storytelling Camp: What a wonderful, loving community. It was so clear that this gathering is created out of truly hard work and love. We especially loved their support of the "next generation" (youth showcase) and honoring their founding "elder" (the woman who's name escapes me). Again, Nancy and I were reminded of the "culture of support" that we storytellers are part of. Mylinda Butterworth, Kim Rivers, Anne Scroggie... (and the countless names we can't remember) did an excellent job on everything: production, scheduling, the line up was great ("no comment" on that Asian Am. kinetic story theater tandem team). It's a great location with easy access to everything. For those of you in ever thinking of going... we highly recommend.
Comment by Eth-Noh-Tec on February 26, 2010 at 11:00am
Two more the Tandem Telling Tango Tribe! Took us long enough... duh- like we always say "Noh Tec", slow to get the techno thang down. But here we are. So great to see this group. Thanks Lynda & MyLinda a for creating this!
Comment by Jonatha Wright on January 28, 2009 at 5:46pm
Hi MyLInda and Linda, I have not been here before. Been so busy with the book and regular storytelling performances. When that book is published, I will try to cruise around here. Looks like you may have found some tandem teams I have not known about. Hope all is well. Jonatha
Comment by Carlos Xavier on September 16, 2008 at 11:39am
I just joined the Professional Storyteller Group, and am a solo as well as a tandem teller. As a duo, A Fable For Two, I tell with my friend Jan. We have told at a few local festivals, and occasionally "dress rehearsal" a story at the grammar school where I tell weekly.

Stylistically, I would say that our tales are probably more in the form of plays, with actual lines, blocking, and even costumes, when convenient and available. Starting from storytelling, we have had to learn to use the entire stage, or telling space, for our tales. We have been told that we are more effective and entertaining since we have learned to do so. Heaven knows, we have more fun.

One other aspect of our tales is that we incorporate music, flute mostly, as a third voice. Having a second teller to continue the narrative has allowed us to weave music in and out of the tale freely, when appropriate, without interrupting or changing its flow. This has been very satisfying.

I'm enjoying reading about your duo telling, and look forward to more "tandem talk,"
Comment by Marc Young on July 15, 2008 at 7:59pm
I'm working on a tandem tale with my friend Lisa, who is also a Jewish storyteller. It deals with 3 mismatched couples who lose their ways in life but eventually end up connecting with their destined soul-mates. There are also a couple of supporting characters and a narrator. Keeping all these characters interesting and in play while moving the story forward is quite a challenge. We decided to use a narrative structure that is frequently employed in the Bible. Each self-contained scene features two of the characters interacting. One of the two then appears in the next scene, either alone or with a different character, and advances the story. Then one of that pair carries over into the next scene, and so on. The narrator's voice enables us to jump between plot threads. We're also doing a little gender-bending. She plays most of the female roles and I do most of the men, but for a few of them we reverse. Anyone had any experience with that sort of change-up in performance? How was it received?
Comment by Roger Jenkins on April 19, 2008 at 3:57am
I have done most of my tandem telling with my good friend Dennis Tan, who is hearing-impaired. Even though most of our telling has been for hearing audiences, building our stories around sign means that our style is as much visual as verbal. We mostly do Asian stories (we're Singaporeans) and ones that have a repetitive strucutre often work well for us as the audience learns to identify signs as they come around again (and again) and I can (pretend to!) be lazy and back off on the vocal narration, letting the audience fill in the blanks (voicing the signs they now recognise.) So there's also an element of advocacy in our work, in celebrating the power and pleasure of sign language. (FYI the deaf use American sign - though not ASL - here.)

Anybody else working with in a hearing/hearing-impaired tandem?

Comment by Patti Christensen on April 2, 2008 at 10:11am
I have two different tandem partners, James with the Patchwork Players, and Panchita where we do bilingual English/Spanish stories. James and I also use the "yes we are married, just not to each other" line. Somehow, people assume that the only way you can have good chemistry in your telling together would be to be a married couple. I think it is good for kids to see two adults working together that AREN'T married to one another...
Comment by B.Z. Smith on April 1, 2008 at 11:21pm
The Story Quilters begin with that perfect tale that we BOTH love. From there we read, read, read....Can we find other versions of the same tale? Similar motifs? We work at immersing ourselves in the new story in order to have the tandem version be our own.

Scripting is critical at first. Through scripting we can establish a balance of voice, shared narration. From there we begin to create a dialogue from which unfolds the story. Occasionally we take turns writing scripts--both adaptations and original pieces. Other times we write them together. We try to make sure that each story has just the right amount of focus on each of us as individuals while keeping the ensemble as the primary focus. We include tandem-spoken words, BUT carefully, not overdoing nor under. Too many tandem lines--OBNOXIOUS! Too few--Coming out of left field with no connection to the whole.

Once we get to blocking, the fun begins. No story dares go out to the wide world without a goodly amount of rehearsal and a lot of trust in each other. Best of all, when that story has been told in tandem for about the tenth time it starts to take on a life of its own!

Cynthia Restivo and I have been working together as the Story Quilters since 1995. She is my third tandem partner. Yes, we're married, but not to each other. However, we both acknowledge that tandem telling is just that--A marriage!
Comment by The Patchwork Players on March 27, 2008 at 11:22pm
Still trying to get a hang of how this all works. We THINK we uploaded a handout of Sample Stories for Tandem Telling (hotlink below). We use this with groups where people are wanting to begin exploring tandem telling. These are quick "bones" of stories that we have found work well as tandem tales. (Please let us know if you can't get it to open.) Feel free to play around with these stories. They are not the actual version of any tales that we tell, but are ripe to put your own clothes on them. Most have two distinct characters and some simple action or dialogue. Hope you find them useful.
Comment by The Patchwork Players on March 27, 2008 at 11:18pm

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