BENGALURU: Will it be a story on tales of wisdom, Celtic wonder tales or a myth? Kenneth Shapley, a Scotland born, England-raised storyteller will only know once the show begins. He is in Bengaluru for a performance – Story Ga Ma. “I’ve prepared 5-6 stories and based on whether the crowd comprises children or adults, I’ll decide what to narrate. It’ll probably be a blend of Celtic and tribal stories,” says Shapley, who also uses musical instruments, including didgeridoo, an Australian wind instrument, to support his stories.
But behind this goes in hours of preparation to ensure every single nuance on point. Memorising stories to be narrated for over half an hour or an hour, standing in front of an audience, ensuring you yourself don’t get lost in the story are some key points that Shapley keeps in mind. “It’s important to get the listeners hooked on to the story within the first 10 seconds. Otherwise, you need to change the pace to keep them with you,” says Shapley, who has been sharing stories for the past 20 years. His favourite stories are about the mysteries of life and stories with insights into other cultures. His stories range from myths, wisdom tales, and Celtic wonder tales.
During his travels to India, including Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, he was surprised that despite the country being known for tales and legends, not many he came across know much about them. “On the other hand, we grew up listening to stories about World War II,” says Shapley, adding that the space is getting quite competitive, with Edinburgh itself now comprising 400 storytellers. “It’s important to narrate the story with passion,” he says. Kenneth Shapley will be performing at the Indian Music Experience, JP Nagar, today.