Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World

I recently read a blog post by Sean Bulava, and it got me thinking about story interuptions I've had that stuck in my memory. Recently I went and told a set of stories with music at a local rest home. The activities director was grateful that I would come and entertain the residents for the small budget they had and they knew what my normal evening fee would have been. The experience was not well planned by the staff and there was some confusion as to where in the building I was to perform, so we got off to a late start and people kept coming in as I was telling or playing as the case may be. I tried to make each welcome and join us, during one of my stories just as I said, "and all the fairies we're laughing, talking, eating, drinking some played music and others were dancing" an announcement came over the intercom. One of the attendants elsewhere in the building sang a little "Please and Thank you song" and switched off. I decided to silently conduct the music with a big smile on my face, and when it was finished got back to the story by wagging my finger and saying in my best Irish accent, "well some of them had a wee bit more to drink than others." That got me some laughs, but it was an ill fated story, for just as the most crucial part came some one tripped the alarm to the door and we had to wait until it could be reset and turned off. I patiently waited and repeated the end of the story since the alarm had drowned it out. I was glad I knew the story well and had been telling it for years, since it would have been easy to get distracted and totally lose my place if I had not. I should say the audience and staff were nice and appreciated everything I did, and I in turn wanted very much to entertain them for my lowest non-profit fee. I still feel rewarded emotionally by sticking it out.

It made me really appreciate next weeks perfomance through our local arts council when my wife and I had a very attentive audience in a large auditorium with a decent sound system and acoustic friendly room.

Dave Sharp
DBA Idlewild

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Comment by David S. Sharp on April 28, 2008 at 8:38am
Thanks for the great comments. I should say that the facility was a nursing home instead of a retirement home. Many of the clients had dimensia as well as several with physical handicaps. The alarms on the doors were to prevent some of the patients from getting out of the building unoticed and attempting to walk out into traffic, that wizzed by right in front of the building. The activities director was a concerned and good person that wanted her clients to get some stimulus from stories, music and interacting with others.

Some years ago I was in a Nursing Home with a Seniors band I played in. (I was the youngster at 47.) Patty played the accordian, Bob the Harmonica and another fellow on the guitar. I brought my Tenor Banjo and Fiddle and played along on tunes like "Alley Cat" and "Among my Souveniers". When suddenly an elderly Women in a wheel chair, pointed at my Tenor Banjo and said, "Alla time, picka, picka, PICKA!". I tell the story to my music friends and imitate the voice for them and now we look at each other and say, "alla time picka, picka, picka".

I would do any of my worst days over again, I meet some wonderful people in these places that would break your heart. One Woman asked me if I could take her home to her house she used to have in Bluffdale, Utah. Her family had sold it and put her in the care facility, and she just wanted to go home. Another fellow waited in line to get out the locked doors with us, when one of the Nurses came over and said, "Oh not you, come over here and have some Ice Cream with us."

Thank you again for all the great comments,

Dave Sharp
Comment by Sean Buvala on April 25, 2008 at 9:46pm
Yep, just the other day, at one school, I did five shows in a row. Great audience, repectful kids and respectful teachers. Good day it was.
Comment by Don 'Buck P' Creacy on April 25, 2008 at 5:44pm
I got tickled when you said the alarm went off. ha ha Perfect... Once I was telling at a health fair and the dance machine kicked in right next to me... on the other side of the wall. ha ah... I couldn't hear even myself. Kept trying to tell but the magic was gone... Felt like a hoofer, tappig out the last vaudeville soft shoe. ha ha

Buck

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