Dexter resident Jane Fink is a pro storyteller and one of three performers during this weekend’s “An Evening of Storytelling.” Listen to her tall turkey tale above.
Three members of the Ann Arbor Storytellers’ Guild will visit the Encore Musical Theatre this weekend to tell stories — some of them touching, most of them funny.
Ann Arbor Storytellers’ Guild member and veteran storyteller recently spoke to WeLoveDexter about her background in storytelling, which goes back to the tender age of four-years-old. Since then she’s told stories at some of the top storytelling events in Washtenaw County.
(For more information on this event see our event preview post here.)
“I have told stories to anybody who would listen as long as I can remember,” Fink said. “I would gather the neighborhood kids. I would write stories and practice them.”
Fink’s ancestry traces back to Wales, which is a land known for talented storytellers and writers.
She treasures stories told to her by grandparents and parents throughout her life, which she believes were passed to them and so on and so forth in the Welsh tradition. Three years ago Fink decided to explore this background further by joining the storytellers’ community in the area.
“They’re a wonderful, accepting group of people who encourage and coach you,” Fink said.
Fink and fellow storyteller Jeff Doyle will tell three stories, while Gertrude Warkentin will tell four.
Warkentin comes from a family of 10 siblings raised in close quarters, so her stories tend to come from that upbringing and are hilarious, Fink said.
“Most of these stories are based in our experience and then in some occasions are grossly exaggerated,” she explained. “Gertrude’s stories are very funny. People see her as this white-haired old lady and then she opens her mouth and people can’t believe what comes out of it.”
Fink says that a story well-told is a gift to the listener that storytellers like her love sharing, which is why she hopes people will come to the show or simply check out the Ann Arbor Storytellers’ Guild’s events to see what storytelling is all about.
When asked what makes a good storyteller, Fink said that the first step is to realize that not every personal anecdote is funny to people other than the teller. Also, a good oral story has the same elements as a written story and is best when flowing out from life experience or a knack of tickling the listener’s sense of humor.
“It takes a lot of practice,” Fink concluded. “The best storytellers work very hard at their performance aspects and get guidance on what work sand what doesn’t work.”