Storytellers spook, entertain at festival


Alice Ann Parker tells the story of how she saved her father from murder at the 25th Annual Talk Story Festival.

“Be bold, be bold, but not too bold, lest that your heart’s blood should run cold.”

The tale of “Mr. Fox,” performed by Anne Shimojima, Lyn Ford and Jeff Gere who went about the story by passing it between one another, was one of the most memorable stories of the evening. What starts with a sweet courtship, quickly becomes a gruesome tale leading to severed hands, decapitated heads and being ripped apart by horses.

The 25th annual Talk Story Festival kicked off its two-day event on Friday, Oct. 18, with “SpOoOooKIES” at the Ala Wai Golf Clubhouse. The auditorium was filled with people ranging from young children to older adults, who came to enjoy a set of spooky tales. Storytellers captivated and enthralled the audience as they told their spooky stories on stage for all to see and hear.

“It [Talk Story] is a big community gathering,” said Gere, the host of Talk Story Festival and the Department of Parks and Recreation’s drama specialist. “It’s a room full of people listening to the same breath to really good performers.”

According to Gere, Talk Story has played at full capacity for the past 25 years. He explained it’s a community of artists working together from the photographer, the camera crew, and the person working on the lighting. Gere feels that the event is “artistically fulfilling.”

“People love spooky stories and the storytellers are really good,” Gere said.

Throughout the evening, the audience laughed, gasped and at times cringed while they listened attentively to each performance. The nine performers for the evening were James McCarthy, Anne Glover, Karen Yamamoto Hackler, Alice Anne Parker, Kilohana Silve and Lopaka Kapanui. These storytellers come from various backgrounds and have experienced various situations in their lives, allowing for their art of storytelling to be stylized and uniquely their own.

“I thought it was pretty good. For my first time [attending Talk Story] it was really entertaining,” said Keri Fukunaga, a senior from Chaminade. “Some of the stories were quite boring but you know, you win some, you lose some.”

Fukunaga expressed her dislike regarding the duration of the event without any intermissions. She also felt that because some of the stories weren’t targeted toward her age group, she didn’t find them as entertaining as the children had. But overall, Fukunaga thought the event was good.

James Peters, 54, from Aiea experienced the Talk Story event for the second time after going to his first a couple of years ago. He was amazed that Talk Story was already on its 25th event. His favorite tale of the evening was “Mr. Fox.”

“I think it [Talk Story] is just people telling stories and making them come alive by acting them out … facial expressions and that sort of thing,” Peters said.

To ensure that all who’ve come could fully enjoy and capture the expression of each storyteller, a video projection was used for those who seated farther from the stage. Sign interpreters Michele Morris and Jan Fried were present for those who were unable to hear the exciting tales.

“I liked that these people were really into their stories,” said Fukunaga. “The way the talked about it, the way they were creating the atmosphere. It made it believable.”