Storytelling with Quill at the Steampunk Symposium

If you were not in the storytelling circle with Quill on Friday night, or if you missed the Jabberwocky interactive theatre on Saturday, then this post will make sure that you never do so again.

Jabberwocky 680

There is something especially unique about a storyteller plying his craft in a room full of people who are, by their very presence, themselves engaged in the art of storytelling. When attempting to get audience members to participate in a theatrical experience, a wall of jeans and t-shirts can be unpromising. But a room full of leather, goggles, and other accoutrements is something else entirely.

Art by 2016 International Steampunk Symposium guest artist Seth Lyons.

Quill began his performance Friday night by not telling the story of The Dead King. He continued to not tell this story by distracting the audience with poetry. Leading with a poem by Lewis Carroll to stick with the theme, he followed with several of his own, including a story about how he discovered calamari, and why he hates superheroes. Then, finally, he sat down to tell us a story. Just not the story of The Dead King. Instead he told a story of the One-Land, and a silver-backed gorilla who wanted a daughter badly enough that he would cross impossibly large holes, race with impossibly fast cheetahs, and dive into the depths of the sea to achieve his wish.

On Saturday Quill was back, this time with an interactive theatrical experience. Chairs were arranged in rows this time, rather than the storytelling circle, and the stage was littered with odds pieces of fabric and costume. With the assistance of audience members a production of the Jabberwocky was staged, with convention attendees cast in the role of the brillig, slithy toves, borograves, and mome raths. Airship balloons were from the race earlier were incorporated.  Three adults and a child were transformed into fearful jabberwocky, which was then slain by the bold young hero. It was a beautiful performance.


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