We asked Carol to write something to introduce her upcoming performance to Unbound guests. It's a fascinating insight to the work that gets done when "translating" the written word into the oral tradition. Here's Carol:
"An UNBOUND BOOK is a glorious image for what I hope listeners experience as they listen to me tell two chapters from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. I seek material that can be interpreted conversationally—material suitable to the directness, confidentiality, and simplicity experienced when we gather to tell one another important stories in semidarkness. Telling a literary piece is not the same as reading or reciting it, though the story remains mostly as Steinbeck wrote it. While I edit lines, I rarely add words. My goals are to build a bridge into the story with an introduction and then communicate his text, language, and style.
Adaptations occur when I:
· differentiate characters more easily by placing taglines like “He said,” at the beginning of a quote, instead of halfway through or at the end of it;
· indicate characters vocally, which allows me to communicate “she said” and/or “he said sadly” effectively without actually saying those words;
· replace words like “she pointed” with a simple gesture;
· utilize a range of facial and physical cues to communicate more complex emotions like “disappointment overwhelmed him”;
· repeat a word or line for emphasis, as people naturally do in conversation;
· edit because of time or audience constraints; and finally,
· interact with listeners during a performance.
Experience tells me listeners seek out books from which they’ve heard sections. Eyes and ears “read” differently; ears and eyes “hear” differently. When audiences hear language lifted off the page, it can enhance their experience of that literature."