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Listen to a conversation between a student and a professor of her theater class.

So, Professor Baker, about our next assignment you talked about in class.

Yes. This time you'll be in groups of three. Each of you will have a chance to direct the other two in a short scene from a play you've chosen yourself.

Right, and, well, I've been reading about story theater, and...

Ah, story theater, tell me about what you've read.

Well, it's a form of theater where folk or fairy tales are acted out. It was ...uh, introduced, by the director Paul Sills in the 1960s. In Sill's approach, an actor both narrates, and acts out a tale. So like someone will appear on stage, and then he'll start narrating a tale, about...say a king, and then the same person will immediately switch to and start acting out the role of the king, with no props or scenery.

Sills, you know, I actually saw his first story theater production in 1968. He did the fairy tale The Blue Light.

Really. So whatever gave him the idea to produce that?

Well, as you know, back in the late 1960s, lots of people in the United States were disillusioned with the government. Sill was grappling with how to produce theater that was relevant in such times. Then he happened to read The Blue Light, and he realize that it had just the message he wanted.

See, in the story, a man who's lost all hope as a result of the unfortunate events in his life, completely turns his life around, with the help of a magical blue light. So, the blue light in the story symbolizes a way out of seemingly unsolvable human problems. And for Sills, that light symbolized an answer to the political turmoil in the US.

But weren't you, um, audiences bothered that the actor were performing on a bare stage?

Well, story theater is a departure from traditional dramatic theater with its realistic elaborate props and scenery, but Sills could make us see, say a big tall mountain through the facial expressions and body movements of the actors, and their telling of the story.

We were all swept up, energized by such an innovative approach to theater, even if one or two of the critics weren't as enthusiastic.

Cool, so, anyway. What I really wanted to ask, I'd love to try doing story theater for my project instead of just a scene from a traditional play.

Hmm, that's possible. A short tale can be about the same length as a single scene. Which fairy tale would you do?

Actually, I was reading about another director of story theater, Rack Stevenson. You know, he produces plays based on folk tales as well. Maybe I could direct one of those.

Okay, yes, Rack Stevenson. Now, Stevenson's style of story theater in a little different from Sills's. He'll use simple props, a chair will represent a mountain, but the significance difference is with the narrator. The narrator will play only that role. Let's talk about why.



  • Paul Sills 保罗·西尔斯
  • And for Sills 对于希尔


  • theater 剧院
  • direct the other two 指挥另外两个
  • story theater 故事剧院
  • folk 民间
  • folk tales 民间故事
  • fairy 仙女;妖术
  • fairy tales 童话故事
  • director 导演
  • approach 方法
  • narrates 叙述
  • acts out a tale 担任故事中的角色
  • props 道具
  • disillusioned 幻灭了(相当于 大失望)
  • grappling 擒抱
  • relevant 相关
  • grappling with 与…搏斗;绞尽脑汁
  • symbolizes 象征
  • seemingly 似乎
  • turmoil 动荡
  • political turmoil 政治动荡
  • bare 裸
  • departure 离开
  • departure from
  • elaborate 精心制作的
  • facial expressions 面部表情
  • energized 充满活力
  • innovative 创新的
  • critics 评论家
  • enthusiastic 热情的
  • tale 故事
  • narrator 解说员


  • acted out 表演出来
  • introduced 引进
  • narrating a tale 叙述一个故事
  • whatever gave him the idea 什么给了他这个主意
  • completely turns his life around 彻底改变了他的生活(完全反转了他的生活)
  • swept up 扫了起来(这里指 一下充满 或激发)




This article was last edited at 2021-02-17 01:54:18

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