Tellabration Celebrates America's Storytellers

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If it weren't for Don Doyle's Aunt Louise, there might not be a Tellabration 2004 this weekend in Pine. But then Doyle, who organizes the event, would probably have a more stable digestive system.

Doyle will tell the story of Aunt Louise as a tribute to the woman who introduced him to the arts at the sixth annual storytelling event, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Pine Community Center Cultural Hall.

It's a story about eating anything he wanted at Bishop's Cafeteria in downtown Des Moines, Iowa when Aunt Louise took him to see a play, concert, ballet or other cultural event.

"I could have pecan pie and strawberry shortcake both," Doyle said. "And I didn't have to clean up my plate first."

And of eating even more at the concert and then grabbing a candied apple for the streetcar ride home.

"I lived out in an area of Des Moines called Beaverdale and there was a long stretch where the streetcars would go very fast and they used to rock and we always sat next to the window because I always threw up," Doyle said.

By introducing him to the arts, Aunt Louise steered Doyle into his career as an actor, storyteller and teacher, but he paid a price."

"I still get motion sickness," he said.

When Doyle and his fellow storytellers take the stage Saturday evening, they will be joined by storytellers in small and large towns around the world.

"At the same time we're sharing stories here in the Rim country, people all over the globe will be telling and listening to their own tales," Doyle said. "Last year, there were 273 Tellabration sites in this country, so thousands and thousands of people were listening to stories at the exact same time."

Storytelling is one of the oldest art forms in the world, Doyle said.

"Before people had a written language, they would come back and tell stories of hunts and battles, successes and failures," he said. "Many of us tell stories from our own personal lives as well as folk tales."

The Pine Tellabration has increased in popularity each year.

"It's grown from 50 (attending) five years ago to over 200 last year," Doyle said. "It's exciting to see it grow like that and people seem to have a wonderful time."

All seats are $5, and tickets can be purchased at the door, with proceeds going to the Pine-Strawberry Archeological and Historical Society.

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