Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘storyteller’

Chris Hart Performs One-Man Shows That Receive Rousing Reviews

Chris Hart

Chris Hart delights audiences with his repertoire of stories.

One-man performances require much research and attention to detail. Chris Hart has this down to a science. Not only does Chris do extensive research, but he writes all of the programs himself. This makes it easier for him during performances, as he is the only one who knows if he strayed from the original script.

Christopher Hart, museum curator and living historian at Roscoe Village, hales from the country in Tuscarawas County these days, even though born in Cambridge. Living on Steubenville Avenue for the first few years of his life, Chris indicated that he was a “good kid”, always a bit shy.

That shyness continued through school at Newcomerstown High School, where Chris didn’t participate in high school performances. Yet he loved going to the theater and watching.

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Involved in Sherlock Holmes performances, Chris often portrays Sherlock’s sidekick, John Watson.

So where did the idea for one-man shows first appear? A few years after he married his supporting wife, Suzie, they visited a restored village in Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. There, a man dressed in full costume told a living history story of a Confederate soldier, who never went home. Chris told Suzie, “That would be the ideal job. Fun!” The seed was planted.

Ohio Northern had become his college of choice to study in their pharamaceutical department. For many years, Chris played the real life role of pharmacist all over Tuscarawas County, but has since retired.

Now he had extra time. One day he noticed an ad for a person to portray a village doctor in Roscoe Village. Four people applied and took turns being doctor throughout the season. This was the first real person he had even done, but that was only the beginning.

Chris Hart

Captain Reynolds tells tales of life of the Ohio-Erie Canal.

A Canal Boat Captain on the Ohio-Erie Canal, which ran close to Roscoe Village, was the first character he fully developed himself. He became Captain Reynolds, who in his travels meets a photographer, snake charmer and even a witch.

While Chris began his one-man, first-person performance days at Roscoe Village, it didn’t take long for listeners to know they had a talented storyteller on their hands. He doesn’t just tell a story, he becomes the character in dress, voice, and emotion.

Queen Victoria and Chris Hart

During Dickens Victorian Village season, Chris performed “Audience with the Queen” with Queen Victoria.

His characters usually are drawn from famous historic events, but he doesn’t portray the main character. He finds it much more interesting to portray someone in the background of the event as he sees it through their eyes. Plus, everyone knows what Charles Dickens looked like, but nobody knows much about his close friend, James Fields.

The only famous person he has done is Neil Armstrong giving a press release twenty years after his walk on the moon. So far he has developed nearly forty different characters, and the list continues to grow.

Main Street Bar

Chris greets visitors to Olde Main Street at the original walnut bar from Sam Douglass Saloon in Newcomerstown.

He jokingly says his ideas come from the committee in his head. He takes ideas he personally likes and finds a character to fulfill that role, or he does a request for an organization. It usually takes about two to three months to research and write one of his performances. His best writing time happens at 5:00 in the morning.

Every story has three basic elements to reach the audience. It needs a little humor, the listener needs to feel a tug of emotion, and there’s usually a twist of some kind that makes the story surprising.

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This is a copy of the original boarding pass used for the Titanic.

His most popular show right now features “The Survivor of the Titanic”, where he portrays Peter Daley a first class passenger on the ship. Peter remembers that fateful day when the Titanic went down and how he survived.

Another favorite, “Shepherd’s Journey”, came to him while he was driving his car. A shepherd at the Nativity moves with Jesus through several major events in his life, culminating at the crucifixion and resurrection. This is a popular religious performance from Christmas through Easter.

Prof. Chris Hart

Chris prepares for another pharmaceutical lecture at Belmont Tech.

Even though Chris enjoys his work on stage, he now also teaches pharmaceutical classes at seven different colleges. His favorite class is at the University of Findlay, where he teaches the History of Pharmacy. As you might imagine his classes are fun as well as educational, since he often appears in costume to make the lesson real.

After seeing his schedule, it’s obvious that Chris makes good use of his time with little to spare. When he does have extra time, reading and hiking at Salt Fork provide relaxation. Mt. Everest tops the list of places Chris would like to visit. It’s the tallest mountain in the world with many stories to tell.

Chris a Salt Fork Festival.

At the Salt Fork Festival, Chris told the story, “Paws for the Cause”, about a Civil War soldier and his dog.

Throughout the year, Chris can be found throughout the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee entertaining audiences with his tales of years gone by. His most recent addition tells the story of a 9/11 survivor, “I’m Not a Hero”. Be sure to catch one or more of his one-man shows sometime soon. You’ll be a fan.

This season, 2017, he will be doing a new story for Friends of the Library during Dickens Victorian Village season. This time he takes on the role of Peter Cratchit, Scrooge’s office clerk, in a performance called “My, How Christmas Has Changed”.

When this fantastic storyteller stops to ponder, it’s not uncommon to hear him say, “That reminds me of another story.” Chris Hart brings history to life!

If you would like to contact Chris for a show at your event, phone him at 740–408-4608. You might find him at Olde Main Street in Newcomerstown or follow him on Facebook at Christopher Hart: History Comes to Life. Schedule ahead!

 

 

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Judi Tarowsky: Storyteller of Tales: Tall & True

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Judi enjoys telling her stories to a roomful of listeners.

A great storyteller is a rare treat as they connect with the heart and soul of their listeners. One that has been blessed with that talent is Judi Tarowsky from St. Clairsville. Her road to storytelling began with a letter.

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She was probably even telling stories as a child when she wore a fire hat.

When Judi was in 8th grade, a friend of hers said she had a cousin in Wales, who was looking for a pencil, which we would call a pen pal. Judi was looking for one too. Since Judi comes from a Welsh background, this contact seemed perfect .

Eirwen from Wales and Judi corresponded all through high school. They wrote about typical things like school, music, and activities. For a graduation present, Judi was given a trip to Barry, Wales. As they grew older, correspondence wasn’t as frequent but in today’s world you can always find someone through the computer

Eirwen came over years later with a Welsh dance group to perform in Harrisburg, and the next year came to the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival in Pittsburgh. Judi and her husband went to see them, and it was during those visits that Eirwen said, “You could be a storyteller too.”

Judi thought about it and decided to enter the Adult Liars’ Contest at the Strand Theatre Storytelling Festival in Moundsville, West Virginia. She won!

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This storyteller’s favorite story is her version of “The Three Little Pigs”.

Since then she has even gone to Wales twice to perform as a storyteller. While there, she told one of her favorite stories, her version of “The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Fox”, based on an old folk tale.

While storytelling was new to Judi, she had been involved in writing for much of her adult life. Previously she worked as a newspaper reporter and for an advertising agency. Putting words together is something she has done well for years.

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She becomes very involved with her stories.

Today, she tells two kinds of tales: tall and true. Both of them involve extensive research. While she delights in telling old legends, historical presentations have become very popular. After selecting a story from history that is little known, interesting facts are then collected.

This storyteller wants to make certain that all her facts are correct before writing her story. But she doesn’t memorize the story. Judi knows it very well from her research and just tells it. Every time it’s a little different.

When speaking, no props or character costumes are used. She is simply a storyteller. According to Judi, “No special effects are required…just your imagination!”

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The story of the U.S.S. Shenandoah is an audience favorite.

Her story of the crash of the Shenandoah dirigible brought the flight of the airship to life for those present. This original story, “The Heroes of the U.S.S. Shenandoah”, has become one of her most popular presentations in this area since the crash happened near Ava between Byesville and Caldwell in 1925.

Another well-told story, “Burning Springs”, took place during the Civil War along the Little Kanawa River in West Virginia. She adds a touch of humor to her talks, such as calling the fire at Burning Springs:

“a Sodom of Sin anointed with oil” ~Howard Lee, “The Burning Springs”.

Or by pointing out that when fire reached that town, the first thing the tavern keepers  carried to the mountains was their supply of whiskey. They  wanted to keep it from the Confederates, and it was expensive besides.

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Her extensive research captivates the audience.

Humor added to historical facts keeps the audience in her grasp. Following her storytelling, there are always many questions to be asked regarding whatever subject she has been sharing. Her knowledge of her subject is impressive and shows much time spent in research. At the present time, there are over forty stories in her repertoire, but that list is constantly expanding.

She frequently speaks at libraries, festivals and civic clubs. Her programs are so varied that she has something for any age group. One of her special workshops, “The Bones of a Story”, guides people to find their own family stories. For more information, contact Judi at mtarowsky@gmail.com .

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Artist, Charlie Gant, made these sketches while listening to Judi’s stories at Jackson Mill Jubilee. It will soon be her new CD cover.

Judi hopes to continue sharing her research through storytelling and perhaps speaking at some larger festivals in the future. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, cooking and traveling by train – most likely with a tablet by her side to record future story ideas.

Peace at the Palace of Gold

Palace of Gold from Rose Garden

Palace of Gold from Rose Garden

Step out of the Appalachian Mountains of Moundville, West Virginia into the Palace of Gold, which reminds many visitors of life in India. “It felt like I was coming home,” described the feelings of one recent guest from New Delhi.

Greeted by Andy Fraenkel, master spiritual storyteller, we were led on an in depth tour of the Palace and grounds. Andy also explained through story, many of the beliefs of the people who built this magnificent structure. Only outside pictures were permitted at the Palace of Gold.

Repair work on Palace of Gold dome

Repair work on Palace of Gold dome

This beautiful golden temple glistens in the sunlight as sunrays catch on the gold coated roof and walls. Construction began here in 1974 with the intention of making a beautiful home for Prabhupada, who founded the Hare Krishna Movement. While Prabhupada did visit the Palace four times during its construction, he never got to live at the Palace due to his death in India two years before it was finished. Upon its completion in 1979, it became a memorial and an instant attraction.

It was decided to build a palace around the original home, adding abundant marble, gems, and gold to make it remind others of similar places in India. This was a huge undertaking and took five and a half years to complete at a cost of $400,000. That may not seem like much for a beautiful palace, but costs were kept low due to volunteer labor of the commune that lived nearby at that time. When the Palace of Gold opened in 1979, 25,000 people were on hand.

 

Rose Garden

Rose Garden

Before entering the Palace of Gold, you will be struck by the beauty of their famous Rose Garden, the perfect place for a time of meditation amongst the beauty and scent of the blossoms. There are over150 varieties of roses plus a hundred water fountains to add to the ambiance, as you bathe yourself in the morning sun.

Lotus Pond

Lotus Pond

A lotus pond is covered with blossoms in this secluded Garden of Time. It’s the perfect place to spot a white swan or duck floating among the lotus. The pathways around the grounds make a peaceful place to walk with nature, and enjoy blossoms from spring through fall. Gorgeous peacocks are frequently seen wandering through the garden as well. From here you can see vistas of three different states.

Now it’s time to discover the inside of the Palace of Gold. Sunshine again plays its role in enhancing the stained glass windows. Sparkling crystal chandeliers reflect inner light from the mirrored ceilings. A Great French Chandelier, over 150 years old, brightens the room so semi-precious stones and pure gold glisten. While it is called the Palace of Gold, there are actually only about 80 ounces of gold used in construction. Gold leaf was applied in very thin sheets, 1/1000″ thick, and brushed onto the walls and ceiling.

Lions guarding the Palace of Gold

Lions guarding the Palace of Gold

As you walk on floors of marble imported from Europe, Asia and Africa,  there are designs on the walls describing the Krishna religion. One wall had several peacock designs as they are a symbol of royalty and bring good fortune. Lord Krishna wears a peacock feather in his hair.

Cows and elephants have their special place also. The cow is revered as a source of food while the elephant is a symbol of wealth as kings rode them during peacetime and wartime. During the 1980’s, an elephant actually stayed on the grounds near the Palace of God, but it didn’t like the cold weather.  So they actually got a semi and sent the elephant to Florida on vacation for the winter. But that expense only happened one year!

The Palace is home to those of the Hindu faith, whose many denominations are all religious manifestations of Dharma. Andy explained, “Each one of us has different unique abilities. Use your talent as an offering to God.”

According to the Dharma teachings: “The path to enlightenment is very simple – all we need to do is stop cherishing ourselves and start cherishing others.”

The Palace of Gold is located at 3759 McCreary Ridge Road outside of Moundsville, WV. Take route 250 South, which is a curvy, mountain road and watch for signs to direct you to the Palace of Gold. It is very well marked.

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