I’d Rather Be Me (audio cassette) stories told by Corinne Stavish. Self -produced, 1996. 57:50 minutes
Women: Willful, Witty, Wise (audio cassette) stories told by Corinne Stavish. Self-produced, 1994. 50:57 minutes
Tales Through the Ages For All Ages (audio cassette) as told by Corinne Stavish. Self-produced, 1992. 48:56 minutes
I'd Rather Be Me is a celebration of self-esteem. From folktale to personal story to literary tale, Stavish has chosen stories which encourage the listeners to look inside, to accept and be proud of who they are. She tells The Stonecutter with a refrain which will encourage younger children to join in; and the vocal characterization as well as the story, in The Apple Tree's Discovery will make it also appealing to young children. The one story which is not particularly aimed at children, though they could certainly appreciate the main parts of it, is the personal story entitled Grandpa Slim. There is a different feel to it, and some of this touching portrait is based on adult
It is interesting to see how Stavish handles her material. From a retelling of an Aesop fable in verse, to a Jewish rendition of the story I know as a Hodja tale, she makes the stories her own, and then offers them wholeheartedly to her listeners.
Women: Willful, Witty and Wise offers six stories for inspiration and entertainment. We are introduced to Lilith, Adam's first wife: the first woman to say I am equal, the first woman to say no. Next it's on to Judith, whose story, from the Apocrypha, tells of a bold woman whose beauty, bravery and faith helped her save her people. Saykhl the Wise will be familiar to manv as the young woman who can answer the riddles posed to her parent, including the command to come at neither day nor night, neither riding nor walking and with a gift that is neither here nor there.
Schnutzie is the Jewish Cinderella and then there is the story of a Jewish-Arab friendship, and a
Tales Through the Ages For All Ages, was recorded live in front of an appreciative audience. It's a collection of well-loved tales suitable for inter-generational audiences. It includes the story of Sir Gawaine and the Hideous Hag, and a selection of tales from Chelm. The audience joined in enthusiastically in Things Couldn't Possibly Be Worse, and Just Enough To Make A Story. The teller used a variety of vocal techniques to create characters and employed a southern dialect for The Bear's Short Tail, and a Scottish burr in Trying to Please Everybody. The voices of her characters were clearly delineated, but the lower male voices did not flow as naturally as the others.
This is the earliest of these three tapes and the listener who hear them all in sequence, as I did, will be able to hear how Stavish's telling has matured from first to last. Although she was obviously already a talented teller in Tales Through the Ages, her pacing, phrasing and voice quality are honed and improved ill the more recent tapes. A number of things impressed me about her work. Her voice is natural, expressive, and confident. She cares about her material, and that is evidenced both in her telling and in the way she makes the stories her own. And finally, the liner notes, though brief, clearly and generously credit those tellers who have influenced and supported Stavish in her creations, serving as a reminder that as storytellers, we are part of a tradition which is built on the sharing of others.
To order send $10 for each tape (plus $1.50 shipping! handling for the first
The Second Story Review, Vol 2 , No. 2, June 1997