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April 4, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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April 4, 2018
 

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SPIRIT of JEFFI RaON and I TkRMER'S .M)VOCATE NEWS PAGE A7 Wednesday, April 4, 2018 Expert storyteller Motoko to bring Japanese ideas alive at Speak c )- f By CHRISTINE SNYDER editor@ spiritofjefferson.com SHEPHERDSTOWN - Motoko, an award-winning storyteller born in Japan and introduced to U.S. cul- ture when she came to the Universi- ty of Massachusetts as an exchange student, is set to entertain an audi- ence in Shepherdstown next week. Motoko is slated to perform "Rakugo: Comical Tales from Ja- pan" as the latest performer in the Speak Story Series. She'll take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Reynolds Hall auditorium on the campus of Shepherd University. She's known for using stories to create understanding and has won praise for her sense of humor as well as her unique ability to trans- late intrinsically Japanese cultural ideas and idioms for an English- speaking audience. Rakugo can be compared to a TV situation comedy - except this is a lone performer on stage play- ing every role. Not just a series of jokes, but a funny continuous story, the art form can be traced to Bud- dhist sermons, with street perform- ers taking the allegorical stories used in preaching to entertain. Last year, Motoko won the Na- tional Storytelling Network's Cir- cle of Excellence Award. Her longtime romantic partner, Eshu Bumpus, also is a profession- al storyteller. They work separate- ly and as a pair, traveling the coun- try and world to perform at story- telling festivals, schools, libraries, museums and other venues. Motoko, the author of "A Year in Japan: Folktales, Songs and Art for the Classroom," has been show- cased at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn and has toured Japan as a part of the Carnegie Hall-sponosored Car- negieKids in Miyazaki Project. She also appeared on PBS's "Mr. Rog- ers' Neighborhood." A resident of Massachusetts since 1986, Motoko spent 10 years teach- ing Japanese to college students. After training with Tony Montana- re, the late master mime, she began working professionally as a story- teller. Her repertoire includes not only rakugos but Asian folktaies, Zen stories, mime vignettes and person- al tales both from her childhood in Osaka and as an immigrant to the United States. Motoko actually will kick off the 2018 Speak Story Series. The sixth season had been set to be- gun on March 20 but the surprise spring snowstorm canceled events on campus that night. Organizers now hope to reschedule the perfor- mance by Texas-based Elizabeth Ellis for later in the year. Speak, which began in 2013, be- gan its partnership with the uni- versity's Appalachian Studies Pro- gram last year. Adam Booth, a mas- ter storyteller and adjunct Appala- chian studies professor, created the series and continues as Speak's ar- tistic director. The partnership has allowed Speak to grow and brought oth- er changes too - now all gifts to Speak are tax-deductible, a com- munity advisory board has been put into place and regular events hap- pen on campus rather than at the Motoko, the 2917 winner of the National Storytelling Network's 2017 Circle of Excellence Award, will take the stage in Shepherdatown on Tuesday. She has performed professionally since 1993. War Memorial Building in down- town Shepherdstown. Motoko's performance at Speak costs $12 at the door, with express entry offered for season ticket holders. The event is free to full- time Shepherd University students with ID. 2018 SPEAK LINEUP After Motoko's performance, a look at the others on the 2018 Speak Story Series lineup: May 8 - Robert Kikuchi-Yn- Much Is True," one of his city's longest-running personal narrative series July 10 - Dovie Thoma- son, a Pennsylvania-based story- teller known for "tales that teach about human nature and indige- nous world views with wry humor, stirring questions and subtle graces that enable a modern appeal with deep cultural roots." Aug. 14 - Corinne Stavish, a Michigan artist called "mesmeriz- ing" and a writer who has contrib- uted to "Chicken Soup for the Jew- gojo, a Californian who is the co- ish sour' and other works. director of Eth-Noh-Tec, a kirtet- ic storytelling San Francisco June 12 - Scott Whitehair, a Chicago storyteller and teach- er. He's also the producer of "This WANT TO GO? Next week brings another installment of Shepherd- stown's Speak Story Series. Motoko will present "Rakugo: Comical Tales from Japan" at 7:30 pan. in the Reynolds Hall auditorium at 109 N. King St. on the campus of Shep- herd University. To learn more about her, go to folktales.net. Tickets cost $12 at the door (with express entry for season pass holders). Full-time Shep- herd students with valid Ram- bler ID may attend for free. Organizers say mature youth may attend at guardian's dis- cretion. For details on Speak (or to buy a season pass), go to speakstoryseries.com Oct. 9 - Linda Groom, of North Carolina, is known for "sur- prising twists and unconvention- al humor." Her honors ir)clude the Linda Jenkins Brown Nia Award for Service from the National As- sociation of Black Storytellers. Nov. 13 - Megan Wells is an actress and playwright as well as a storyteller. Her gigs have included working as a guest artist with Chi- cago Symphony Orchestra and a partnership with singer/songwrit- later who grew up in the Appala' er Amy Lowe including "Fire in chian Mountains of North Caroli- Boomtown," about Chicago's 1871 na. He's the author of 18 books and fire, which won a Parent's Choice 40+ original recordings. Gold award. Valley Health WE COMES r PH: 304.535.1313 196 HIGH ST OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK HARPERS FERRY Kaitlyn Garnett, PA Kaitlyn is a physician assistant with experience in a variety of healthcare settings. She joins the practice of Safa Osman, MD and Chariti Stephens, PA-C at Valley Health Internal MedicinelRanson. ValleyHealthI Healthier, together. Specializing in Custom Sawing, Tree Removal and Stump Grinding. Firewood Now Available for Delivery Custom Sawing Call Us Today! 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