Storyteller’s Themes – interview with Marien Tillet (25 August 2009)

marientilletIntroduction

Here’s the introduction presented to me about Marien: Dance, contemporary puppeteering and music dot nourish his storytelling. Winner of the Audience award at the 2000 Chevilly-Larue Storytelling Awards, he has been part of the practical research laboratory in storytelling since its creation in 2003. On top of carrying out his shows at unconventional venues (dam basins, libraries at night, prisons, hospitals), he organises festivals, open stage evenings and directs storytelling workshops linked to three main themes: improvisation, the body, music. Marien tells in French and English. His work can be found at www.compagnieducercle.fr/marientillet.html (in French). Without further ado, I have great pleasure in introducing you to Marien Tillet …


Aneeta: Marien, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Let’s start with you. Please tell me a little of your story – where were you born, where did you grow up, what do you do for a living and where do you live now?

Marien: I was born in Paris, I grew up near a medieval town not realising what a privilege it was to get a walk on the walls of a medieval castle between two lessons at school.

I do live very close to Paris now and I am a full time storyteller.

Aneeta: How did you get into storytelling and why?

Marien: I was having a course for being animator for children and there was this teacher, he was a storyteller and he told us the true version of the little red riding hood, not the jolly version but the one in which it is a massacre and absolutely not a happy ending at all! Then I discovered you could tell stories for grown up people. I was already writing stories song then I just jumped in it.

Aneeta: I understand that you carry out your shows at some unconventional venues. Can you please name three of the most unconventional venues you’ve worked at? Why do you choose such venues?

Marien: the most unconventional venue I have been telling story, I do not know how to say that in English : it is a place where they take all the extra water falling on Paris, it is underground, it is a huge place like a gigantic parking. For the occasion they made it empty, it was so smelly. People where wearing special clothes, I was playing with the space, I could be 50 meters up or down of them.

I have been telling stories in a cemetery too. So spooky.

The third place would be in an old castle in the dark for both blind and not blind people. Now you really realises that every single word counts.

I am asked for telling in such places, and I am kind of known to like those challenges.

Aneeta: Your storytelling, it is said, is linked to three main themes: improvisation, the body and music. How do these three themes interact and what happens when they do?

Marien: Improvising actually means being aware of such thing like the body and musicality. Everything is in everything : when you play an instrument you use your body to do that, it means some gestures that you can not deny, it is there. The only point is that all of this must be first for the story.

Aneeta: I understand that you will be part of the Singapore International Storytelling Festival this year. Have you been to Singapore before?  Are you looking forward to it and why?

Marien: Never been there before. I am so excited because it always is a challenge for me to tell stories in English because you can not just translate it, it would not work. Then I always rediscover my stories they change when I tell them in English. It is not the same timing at all, nearly not the same style.

In those international festivals it is so interesting to share with the other storytellers because we do not have the same way in storytelling, not the same approach, but we all tell stories anyway.

Aneeta: As you know, this website caters to storytellers. What advice would you give those who would like to venture into storytelling?

Marien: there is question I try to ask to myself when I perform a all show which is often a one hour story, but it fits with little stories too : why am I telling this story ? is there a message in it?

I mean you got to figure out that it is such a responsibility to be in front of an audience and to say something : then what are you going to say?

It is more a question for professional storytellers, but it still is a good one I think.

Sometimes it is good to write yourself a story because that helps in finding your own style and what you want to say. The goings to and fro between folktales and written by yourself stories are right way to find how to put your own writing in folktales and how to put universality in your own stories.

Aneeta: Marien, this is all I have to ask. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Marien: Nope

Aneeta: Marien, thank you.


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