PORT ANGELES — Anything can happen when it comes to live storytelling — and that’s a wondrous thing, said Beth Horner, one of the flock of tellers poised to practice their craft this weekend.
The National Storytelling Network Oracle Award winner will teach a master class and give four performances in the Forest Storytelling Festival, to start Friday and run through Sunday. Everything is online this year, while tickets are found here.
“What I love about this is all of the different sets, the ghost stories, the workshops — all the things you see in a live festival,” Horner said in an interview from her home in Evanston, Ill.
“It’s a great lineup,” agreed festival director Lisa Turecek, adding that the virtual format allows the livestreaming of tellers all over the country, in the “New Voices” concert Saturday afternoon and in the spooky-story session that night.
The quarter-century-old fest, normally held at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, is back this year after cancellation in 2020.Horner will be in Illinois when she leads her workshop Friday afternoon. And for her live performances, she has a variety of family stories cooking.
One is “The Great American Novel,” about her mother’s trip to a electricity-free cabin in the Ozarks.
“She packed the station wagon with all of the provisions for six weeks, and her four children, and her pet dog, her pet cat, and a one-eyed owl she’d rescued,” plus the typewriter on which she sought to write a novel.
Another Horner tale is about her 96-year-old father. Titled “Don’t Sell the Cows,” it’s about holding on to your passion in life.
Then there’s “Truth,” a parable Horner sets to music. Inspired by an Austrian folk tale, it’s about seekers sent out to locate truth; this story changes every time she tells it.The Forest Storytelling Festival’s featured artists also include Eva Abram, Sam Payne and Heather McNeil, all performing alongside opening tellers from the Pacific Northwest. These include Billie Mazzei, Eric Foxman, Anne Brendler, Al Fowler and Port Angeles’ Erran Sharpe.
In the “New Voices” concert Saturday afternoon, five emerging tellers will appear. Like the other concerts, this event will range from love stories to comedy to messages of inspiration. And as the Forest Storytelling Festival has done for decades, the performances will appeal to “preteens, grandparents and everybody in between,” the website promises.
At lunch time Saturday, the festival will honor its tradition of a story slam. The theme will be “on the spot,” and this time there won’t be any judging. Those interested in taking part — telling a true, personal story — will register, and if their names are drawn from the virtual hat, they will have five minutes to enthrall the audience.
Each concert, Turecek noted, will be recorded and made available to ticket holders for two weeks after the festival.
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Registration is open at the Clallam Story People website, while viewers can choose an $80 full-festival pass or buy a la carte tickets — ranging from $15 to $30 — to various events. The Friday master class with Horner has a separate $50 signup fee and a maximum of 30 participants.
Here’s the weekend’s full schedule.
• 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. — “Fact to Story to Action: Creating Stories for Positive Change,” a master class with Beth Horner.
• 6:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. — Concert starring the festival’s featured storytellers.
• 8:45 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. — The festival social room is open for all attendees.
• 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. — “Character Inside Out,” a workshop with Eva Abram.
• 10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. — “In Your Write Mind,” a workshop with Sam Payne.
• Noon – 1 p.m. — Story Slam; registration available on the Story People website.
• 1:15 p.m. – 2 p.m. — Eva Abram performs.
• 2:15 p.m. – 3 p.m. — Heather McNeil performs.
• 3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. — Sam Payne performs.
• 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. — The New Voices concert spotlights tellers Lillian Rodrigues-Pang, Mo Reynolds, M.J. Kang, Laura Packer and Jessica Robinson.
• 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. — Concert gathering of all featured tellers.
• 8:45 p.m. -10 p.m. — Heather McNeil, Jenice Matias, Kevin D. Cordi and Alton Takiyami-Chung tell chilling, thrilling ghost stories.
• 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. — Beth Horner performs.
• 10:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — The festival’s final concert gathers the featured tellers for inspirational stories.
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]