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Begin with a prop
A prop can be a highly effective to introduce a story, especially if it has some intrinsic cultural significance, or if you have a personal connection to it (how you got it, won it, found it …)
Before I start the story of the willow pattern, I display a plate I bought on ebay (about S$12)and contextualise what ‘China’ meant to eighteenth century England (far-off, exotic land of strange customs)
For obvious reasons, I don’t pass the plate around the audience (crash!) but if your prop is strong enough to be handled, people love to get hands-on!
Tuesday February 15th, 1942 began like any other.
It was the day before Chinese New Year and here in Singapore …
The Giant was of medium height for a giant – about 9’ 9’ tall, though when he wore his striding boots, their thick soles – necessary to support his great weight – added another six inches.
Ways To Begin (besides Once Upon A Time)
With a QUESTION
Do you ever wonder why bats only come out at night?
Have you ever been so lost you never thought you’d fnd your way home?
A question invites your audience to respond. It can arouse their curiosity or prompt them to empathise with the character’s predicament.
A long time ago, long ago,
so long ago that no one can remember,
and no tree can remember,
and no rock can remember;
so long ago that there were no people,
and there were no trees,
and the rocks had not been made. . .
like a Newspaper
Imagine you are on the edge of a great, great forest.
In front of you there is a road. You ride forward – for you are on horseback – riding briskly, purposefully, for a long time, until the road forks on either side of a towering mahogany tree.
In the Caribbean, the teller cries ‘CRICK’! And the audience responds, “CRACK”
In Japan, folktales always began, Mukashi, mukashi, meaning Long ago, in a certain place …
In Bhutan, the teller cries Dangbo! and the audience responds Dingbo! (Say it several times, playing around with the way you say it - get the audience listening, laughing and joining in!)
Not quite right? Want to try another opening?
A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back
or from which
to look ahead.
The End of the Affair