Thursday, October 15, 2009

Interview with Tongues Wagging - Glenna Janzen and Carol Leigh Wehking

Tongues Wagging Productions ~ Storytelling is two storytellers: Carol Leigh Wehkingand Glenna Janzen – working together. Their performances include individual voice stories and stories told in tandem. Their tandem telling takes two voices and weaves them together into a unique and vibrant performance.

Who are your favourite storytellers/spoken word/story artists?

Jess Smith: look her up when you’re in Scotland!

Liz Weir: look her up when you’re in Ireland!

Peter Chand: look him up when you’re in the UK!

Hugh Lupton: see above.

Jan Blake: see above.

What will you be telling at FOOL?

We’ll be telling our two-voice adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen.

Tell us about some of your influences.

Carol Leigh: Bonnie Beardsley my Theatre professor when I was an undergraduate; my family – my grandparents, my parents and my children

Glenna: My dad told us stories, and he always began, “when Uncle Herman and I were little girls like you and Lorraine…” – His playfulness has been a big influence. I’ve also been influenced by the stories of Mennonite wanderers and prisoners and immigrants – in my own family and others.

Why do you think story is important in this day and age?

Storytelling has always been important in every day and age because it’s able to speak to each person’s condition. – You don’t have to be able to read or even to speak to enjoy an oral story. And, of course, stories contain all the wisdom, as well as all the folly, of the world. We especially need our oral traditions when we have television, radio and internet because they are interactive and creative arts – creative on the part of the teller, and creative on the part of the listener, since stories invite and even depend upon the listeners’ participation.

What is your favourite book?

Here are some from Glenna: the Arthur Ransome Swallows and Amazons series; The Lizard Cage by Karen Connolly; The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Here are some from Carol Leigh: Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda; The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill; the children’s books of E. Nesbitt.

What inspires you?


How do you create your stories?

We draw on many sources, including folktale, myth, history, family stories and experiences, literary stories, and our own imagination. Then we work like hell!

Advice for aspiring teller of tales, word artists, and web weavers?

As the Portuguese proverb says, First you listen, then you talk. – And in between, you work like hell!

Your favourite shops/restaurants/places to visit in Toronto?

Ten Thousand Villages on Bloor Street; Mount Everest Restaurant on Bloor Street; Laila on Bloor Street; Textile Museum; Bata Shoe Museum; The Music Garden on the waterfront.

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