The second set of 25-30 minute presentations deals with the transition from Responsible Adult to Earthy Elder. The key text to be read in preparing the presentation is Allan B. Chinen, ONCE UPON A MIDLIFE: Classic Stories and Mythic Tales to Illuminate the Middle Years (Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1992) -- on 2 hour reserve for this class, PHL 343, under Sullivan, J. in the Elon Library.
The Chinese word for any Transition/ Crisis is written as a combination of two sub-characters -- one represents "Danger;" the other, "Opportunity." Any situation has qualities of danger AND opportunity. This paradoxical quality -- beyond conventional good/bad -- is especially important in dealing with folktales, fairy tales, and myths.
When we move into "the other world," we have moved beyond a world of conventional right and wrong into a magical, mysterious realm where everything is what it is and more, where everything is both good and bad, fearful and fascinating, where ordinary moral rules are suspended and a character may be asked to kill or steal from other characters. REMEMBER: EACH OF US IS ALL THE CHARACTERS -- HUMAN, ANIMAL AND ELEMENTAL -- IN THE STORY!
For this presentation, after everyone has read the material, you will need to meet twice -- once to assign parts and discuss the telling of the tale and a second time to rehearse and to prepare questions for discussion. Generally, you need a Master of the Story (might be two persons -- a Master of the Story and a Narrator) plus people to take the main parts -- if needed, one person can play more than one part; if not enough speaking parts, someone may represent the non-speaking elements. Note: woman can play men's roles and men, women's roles -- where appropriate or where gender of character is inessential. But be careful -- the reading/playing of parts should not become farcical unless the characters are meant to be comic.
First, let the Master of the Story "cosmicize the space" and set the tone for a listening. Then let the group tell the tale seriously, mysteriously, in ritual fashion (not lightly and trivially). Use techniques of readers' theater -- very sparse use of props, stylized clothes, etc. Think of how Bly tells a fairy story. The story may be stopped at intervals by the Master of the Story, calling for the repeat of a line, encouraging the audience to experience what has been presented, etc.
Bring to life the key metaphors and bring them into the listener's inner world. We are all the characters in the drama. The story must speak to the heart and move the audience to deepen their lives. Avoid literalizing or psychologizing. Stay in the mystery, in the dream. At the end, take us out of the mythic time and space. AS IMPORTANT AS THE QUALITY OF THE PRESENTATION IS THE QUALITY OF THE DISCUSSION. Spend time together generating as a group good "prompt questions" to energize the discussion. Remember: In the mythic mode, the story is about each person -- here and now -- about each person's life.
Note: The presentation will be judged on the basis of
the memorableness of the story
and the insightfulness of the discussion.
NEW ORANGE GROUP
Presentation on Tuesday, Oct. 28th. Read Intro. and Chapter 4: story of Stubborn Husband; Stubborn Wife. This is a long tale. Break into parts: 1. Quarrels; 2. The Bargain; 3. the Husband's story; 4. The Wife's Reproach; 5. The Wife's adventure; 6. Conclusion. Characters: Husband, Wife and Thief + beggar, barber, old woman.
NEW YELLOW GROUP
Presentation on Thursday, Oct. 30th. Read Intro. and Chapter 6: story of Lute Player. Characters: Husband, Wife and Evil King.
NEW GREEN GROUP
Presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 4th. Read Intro. and Chapter 8: the Man Who Did Not Want to Die. Characters: millionaire, god, luminous figure + hunter & non-speaking: crane, storm, shark.
SECOND TEST, TUESDAY NOV. 11TH.
Presentation on Thursday, Nov. 13th. Read Intro. and Chapter 9: story of Destiny. Characters: older and younger brother, beautiful woman and hag, hermit, Destiny.
NEW INDIGO GROUP
Presentation on Tuesday, Nov.18h. Read Intro. and Chapter 14: story of The Stoning. Characters: husband, wife, judge (the wife's brother in law), a kindly couple.
NEW VIOLET GROUP
Presentation on Thursday, Nov. 20th. Read Intro. and Chapter 16: story of the Golden Tree. Characters: King, King's youngest wife, old forest man/woman, king's sages and evil queens.
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 26TH IS START OF THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY. HAPPY THANKSGIVING.
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