Fish: Fables Storytelling returns to the next stage | Columnists

Storytelling is my drug of choice. I like telling them, I like listening to them and I really like being part of them. In the case of Fables Storytelling, an event I organize and host at the Next Stage Theater in Putney, Vermont, it also has a story to tell, and that story is two and a half years old.

In March 2020, the Fables Storytelling event would stop regularly appearing on the second Wednesday of the month and fall on COVID. The date for the event itself was March 11, 2020, the theme was “Sugar” and we had great stories from Carolyn Hardy, Sally Fegley and Dan Crocker. Keith Marks was the newest executive director of Next Stage, and this would (I believe) be his second Fables to head up the theatre. Keith’s predecessor, Maria Basescu, had approached me a few years earlier to initiate and organize the event – which I have to say happened at a fairly low point in my life, with a career spanning 25 years that caused me to implode for no reason. But it was just the kick in the arm I needed to get me back in the right direction and remind myself that indeed, when one door closes, another opens.

On March 11, 2020, Keith and I emailed and called each other to discuss whether or not to pull the plug and cancel the event. The tension grew, because on March 11 the National Basketball Association would close, and after all, if a multi-billion dollar industry with 30 franchises could close, why not Fables? But we didn’t, we moved forward as the United States collapsed into a world of isolation and isolation four days later. As this played out, I remember thinking to myself, “What does this mean?” Then it happened, but don’t worry, it (the shutdown) will only last two weeks. Either way, our storytellers took to the stage and told their stories about sugar, with all three having a common thread, they all counted it at some point towards their income.

Peanuts, chocolates and maple syrup plus a few tales that included childhood memories of sweets that weren’t made anymore, and that was it. The world considered some of us ‘essential’, while others were suddenly unemployed for the first time in their lives and there was nothing they could do about it. We wiped down groceries with alcohol wipes before bringing them into the house, because then the coronavirus could survive on surfaces for days. As one country watched incompetent leaders talk about shoving UV lights into places they don’t belong and sanitizing the blood, we started solving problems in the digital realm. We also got mad at people who showed up with license plates that didn’t say Vermont or New Hampshire. Strange times indeed.

April came and went, May came and we thought we’d do what everybody does and tap into the world of YouTube and social media, and we did some Fables that way, and they were fun because, after everything, listening to a well-told story… there is nothing better. We created one in September 2020 at Scott Farm because we could do it outside. It was great to have that face-to-face reaction again, but it was a far cry from our intimate setting at the Next Stage Theater Café. After all, this is the home of Fables.

Then, about three months ago, Keith Marks, a Next Stage Theater veteran and newly emerging community leader, and I sat down and agreed it was time. We missed it, we want it back and we’ll bring it back. So Fables returns on a familiar night, Wednesday. But it’s not the second Wednesday, it’s the last Wednesday in August, next Wednesday, August 31, to be exact. The theme for this, and to steal a line from Tina Turner, is “Simply the Best”. We have four storytellers telling their true stories starting at 7 p.m. on August 31. Stephanie Zumbruski, Tim Wessel, Cyndi Cain Fitzgerald and Mike Cancellieri will take to the main stage for the restart of this fantastic community event. I hope to see you all there, because it was two long weeks!

Peter “Fish” Case is a man of opinion. He offers a weekly podcast discussion that can be heard on Questions, compliments and complaints can be directed to him at Opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of Vermont News & Media.

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