Monday, June 11, 2007

What They're Saying About Julie! (part I)

For the past three years, I have been asked to visit a Children’s Literature Class at Hudson County Community College by the teacher, Elaine Foster. It is one of my favorite performances to do, for I love not just telling stories, but teaching others about storytelling and folktales, and dispelling some myths about my profession. Each year, Ms. Foster has her students write a reaction paper after my visit. Here are some comments from this year’s visit!

  • Quite honestly, I did not know what to expect from Julie Pasqual, what actually tickled my brain was the fact that she is a storyteller. I wondered how hard her job can really be; sitting all day telling helpless young children how cruel Cinderella’s step family was. All I could say to myself was, “will she leave soon enough so I can present my report?” I was really skeptical, and didn’t have many expectations. I did expect a lethargic plus size, middle age, pale woman, who was going to speak about her cat, Hairball. She would speak softly, rub her nose a great deal, and gesture lifelessly. To my surprise, Julie was the total opposite; thin, caramel complexion, young and full of energy. I was amazed at how much of my attention she attained, and how much she went into character and was excellent at it. I just loved her personality and how animated she was, which I was not prepared for one bit. Her energy level was through the roof, and was enough to go around a few times. I absolutely loved her, and wished I knew of her sooner, I would have hired her in time for my son’s birthday party.

  • Storytelling could be boring if not performed in the right matter. I think Julie Pasqual is amazing. She had this great energy, and she was so flexible. Performing in front of many people can be nerve racking, but she did a wonderful job. She kept me entertained the whole period. She told chain, porquoi, and trickster tales. In one of the tales she told, she had the class interact with her and make turtles with our hands. When I first heard we were going to have a storyteller, I assumed it was going to be boring, but Julie Pasqual changed my whole perceptive. The tales she told were from all around the world, told from different cultures.
  • When I sat down in class to listen to Julie Pasqual, I thought immediately, “This woman is crazy”. She’s standing there making all of these funny faces, and practically dancing around the room. I wondered, “Maybe she is in the wrong class? We were expecting a storyteller. I imagined someone was going to narrate a few stories to us and then leave.” Then I realized, that she was acting.

  • She did more than just read the words from a book. She drew me in with her dramatizations. She captured my interest, and made me want to know what would happen next. When she spoke for the “rock” in the story she gave it life and emotion, which made it real. She did the same for the fishing pole, and the chair, and all of the other components of the story.
  • To be honest, I had not the slightest clue what to expect from Julie Pasqual’s visit. I have never met or heard of a professional storyteller before, and it was interesting as well as relieving to hear that she often received the same reaction from others. Her performance was energetic and well interpreted. Therefore, it was not hard to keep interest the whole time. The way she acted out each character and her theatric mannerisms were quite notable. It was hilarious to see the class get involved with the story as well.

  • Aside from her marvelous storytelling, I found her presentation quite informative. I was not aware that there were so many different types of stories. As well as amusing to learn that there was an entire storytelling circuit, with conventions, gatherings and contests. The history of the connections between the many stories was also interesting to learn about. The story connection reminded me of how languages are all connected to a type of metaphoric tree. I can only wonder how many stories have been lost throughout the ages.
  • Ms. Pasqual’s enthusiasm in her storytelling reminded me of my grandfather’s. Although most of his stories were ghost stories, his enthusiasm would definitely scare the living daylights out of me. Yet, it was all in good fun. If anything, Ms. Pasqual’s storytelling made me wish that I could remember some of those ghost stories from my youth.
  • As a whole, I found the presentation both exciting and revealing. It definitely made me think of my past experiences with hearing stories from others. It was also eye opening to learn about the history and present state of storytelling. Thus, making this experience an entirely positive one.

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