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From: Papa Joe

To: Livia De Almeida

Cc: Storytell

Subject: Story-Games & The Giant Vegetable

Date: Friday, May 23, 1997 8:12 AM


From: Livia De Almeida

To: papajoe

Subject: B-Parties

Date: Thursday, May2,997:57 PM

Dear Papa Joe,

I found your articles on B-parties very interesting indeed. Lately, I have been invited to do some work that vaguely resembles telling stories in a b-party. First, I was invited to do it in a food court. I was scared to tell in such a noisy, dispersive place. I opened with a story with a song, my partner followed with a participative tale, we had some puzzles, songs and I finished with the Lion Hunt. It took us about0 minutes and it worked. it went so well that the mayor's office invited us to tell in a park. As people come and go, they expect us to be able to be on stage for an hour and so. They will pay accordingly. I feel I should also tell short interactive tales and play games with the kids. Would you have any suggestions for a start? I feel we need something to grab the kids' attention. What kind of games would you try? We usually do puzzles, but I feel it will not work on wide, open spaces.

Thank you for your attention,


Down in South America



Suggestions? Games? YES!!!! Tell them Story-Games. <<SMILES>> Almost any Formula Tale can be converted into a story-game. I know some of the other tellers here could share one or two. This is a thread that promises to be fun. I'll do two of my favorites.

Someone asked for the source for "The Giant Turnip". That tale is so often told, you can find it in just about every Library. There are many picture book versions, it is in many telling collections, many Jewish collection, and most Russian Folks Collections.

I do a Story-Game version called:

The Giant Vegetable

Teller: What kind of vegetable do you like?

It doesn't matter what they say.

Listener: Beans!

Teller: I'm going to need a lot of help with this one. I'll take folks up here as I need them. If I don't pick you first or second or third, I'll pick you fourth or fifth or... You know what I mean. Be patient. Everyone who wants a turn will get one. :) Okay! I need a farmer.

Select a Farmer. Bring them up front.

Teller: Now a Bean!

Select a bean.

Teller: Once there was a farmer.

Hold farmer's hand up.

Teller: Lets hear it for the Farmer!

Everyone: Yaaaaaaaa Farmer!

Teller: She/he grew Beans! Let's hear it for the Beans!

Hold up Bean's hand

Everyone: Yaaaaaaaa Beans!

Teller: Every year the farmer picked their beans, loaded them into baskets, took them to market, and sold them for money. Good idea?

Everyone: Yes! (or what ever)

Teller: This year, the farmer had picked all but one bean. It was a Giant Bean. He pulled and he pulled, but it wouldn't come loose.

Show farmer how to act out pulling. Keep control of the motions your actors make. It is important to keep everyone safe.

Teller: So the farmer got their partner.

Have the farmer pick the next person.

Teller: The farmer pulled on the bean, the partner pulled on the farmer...

Signal to the others to help say the next line

All: They pulled and they pulled, but it wouldn't come loose.

Teller: So the partner got a friend.

Have the friend pick the next person.

Teller: The farmer pulled on the bean, the partner pulled on the farmer, the friend pulled on the partner...

All: They pulled and they pulled, but it wouldn't come loose.

From then own keep adding another person to the line. Remember to keep control. Sometimes with very energetic groups, I will position myself at the end of the line blocking them from yanking the poor bean across the stage/floor/street/what ever.

You can pick things for them to be or let them chose what they want. If you have a large group and don't think you can remember all the characters. Have a Rabbit with her bunnies (or a dog with puppies or what ever) and every time a new child comes up, tell them to pick another bunny.

Teller: Remember we're just pretending to pull.

One person left.

Teller: Along came a little bumble bee with a broken wing. Everyone laughed. How could a little bumble bee with a broken wing help. But the bumble bee tried anyway.

Teller: The Farmer pulled on the bean, the partner pulled on the farmer...

the bunny pulled on the bunny on the bunny on the bunny on the bunny...

and the bumble bee with the broken wing - pulled on the end.

All: They pulled and they pulled...

I cut them off here

Teller: And it POPPED off the bush. Everyone fell down.

You might have to remind them to be careful of little ones. Keep everyone down, but have them sit up.

Teller: The farmer looked at the bean. It wouldn't fit in a basket so they couldn't take it to market and sell it for money. Instead...

Get the Farmer and the Partner

Teller: The Farmer and the partner chopped it up into Bean salad...

Have them chop up the bean. Remind them it's just pretend.

Teller: And share it with their friends...

Have the two pass out pretend bowls of bean salad.

Teller: Of course the bumble bee with the broken wing got a second helping.


Pax & Amicitia,

Papa Joe


From: Livia De Almeida

To: Papa Joe

Subject: Re: Jump off the bridge! A formula Story/game

Date: June 01, 1997 6:28 PM

Dear Papa Joe,

Today was the big day. It was very rainy as we approached the park, but it stopped mid-morning. We performed after a choir. They sang to the empty square. We were very much worried. We wouldn't be able to do any interactive story by ourselves. All of sudden there were a lot of kids there. Middle-ed and slums kids, all together _ down here it is like that, we have very poor favelas (slums) stuck inside rich people's districts. It was a very noisy, rowdy crowd, I would say.

We made them sing, give answers, do animal noises. Any longer story, with a bit more of a plot did not work that well. Some of us stayed down near the audience while the rest used the microphone upstage. Something must be said about the stage. It was the ugliest I have ever seen, full of metallic tubes just in front of us. I think the audience could see us practically waist up only. It gave us a sense of being too far from the people.

The big vegetable was one of our best moments!! I must admit I was the turnip. We did it twice. Once without the kids, and the second time with them. There were about0 kids pulling me in the end. Some of them were quite grown. There was this girl on her teens who was most enthusiastic. IT WORKED!!!

We finished with a lion hunt that happened all around the park. I commanded from the stage and my four partners organized the kids on the ground. One of the husbands did count4 kids, but forget to count the parents. They also joined in.

I guess we had lots of fun. The kids were really happy with all the activities. But I guess we stayed on the short side of two hours (this was the time the mayor's office expected us to entertain the kids). As everything started later than the appointed time, nobody made any fuss about that, this time. They seemed to be very happy too. I don't think we would be able to keep the action rolling for full hours. Anyway, I left exhausted. I had to come back home and fall asleep. And we are five. How long does your programs usually take in such environment? Do you work just by yourself?


* Livia de Almeida *

* Down in South America *


Papa Joe  ~  Telling Tales

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