One of Don Doyle’s more memorable experiences during a long acting and teaching career was when the retired Arizona State University professor had his Irish brogue critiqued by the late actor Dennis Day’s mother.
“I toured for two years as a leprechaun in Dennis Day’s production of ‘Finian’s Rainbow,’” said Doyle, who is of Irish descent. “Occasionally his mother, who lived in Ireland, would come to a show and make sure my dialect was up to her standards.”
Rim country residents will be able to judge for themselves this Saturday, Nov. 23, when Doyle and friends stage the fourth annual Pine Tellabration! an evening of storytelling, at 7 p.m. in Pine Cultural Hall. Doyle, who taught storytelling and creative drama at ASU, took an early retirement so he could pursue a career in storytelling.
“I tell mostly folk tales from the Irish and Celtic cultures,” he said. “And then, of course, I include personal stories.”
Doyle will be joined on stage by Valley storytellers Dorothy Daniels Anderson, Douglas Bland, Dennis Freeman, Liz Warren and Ricardo Provencio. Anderson appears in costume and tells first-person stories of Arizona women; Bland relates original life-experience stories that are often twists on ancient tales; Freeman’s tales are often based on his war experiences; while Warren is noted for stories that reflect “the heroic journey of personal transformation.”
Provencio, who is making his first appearance in Pine, is “a very good Latino teller,” Doyle said.
Rounding out the bill are Chuck and Barbara Casey, popular local musicians whose ballads often tell stories.
The Rim country will join with communities worldwide in celebrating the art and power of storytelling as similar events are being held in small and large towns around the world.
“The Saturday before Thanksgiving is the traditional day to hold storytelling events,” Doyle said. “This will be the fourth one in Pine, but they’ve been happening in other places for 14 years.”
Doyle is also offering a storytelling workshop from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday for Rim country residents who want to learn the craft. The fee for the workshop is $30.
The storytelling renaissance began with a nationwide storytelling event in Jonesboro, Tenn., 30 years ago. Today, every state in the country and many other nations have storytelling organizations and hold storytelling festivals.
It’s even possible to get a masters degree in storytelling at East Tennessee State University.
Doyle says that storytelling at this level is not intended for very young children.
“Our Tellabration audiences tend to be adults, but children who are in fourth grade and up will also enjoy the experience,” he said.
All seats are $5, and tickets can be purchased at the door.