Ex Fabula’s last StorySlam of 2022 was a packed house at Garfield’s 502. The theme was Language and the stories shared were about communication and misunderstandings in languages such as American Sign Language, Spanish, Japanese, and English. Additional stories involving German, French, Portuguese, Italian, Khmer, and AAVE were shared as UltraShorts and brought even more voices to the stage!
The first story was shared in ASL by Alyson Urdahl. She told three mini stories about some of the misunderstandings that she has uncovered during her career as a teacher. All these happened because the students didn’t have enough people in their lives who could effectively communicate with them in ASL. Topics of confusion included the “This is your brain on drugs” PSA and menstruation. Thankfully Alyson was there to clear things up!
Anne Koller shared a story about teaching English in rural Japan. She had one English-speaking friend who grew up in Leeds, and one day on the train, they were discussing their dating lives, vibrators, and orgasms. They thought they were having a private conversation because they rarely met anyone who spoke English in that area. What they didn’t know was that a young man from New York sitting by them understood every word!
The next two storytellers shared stories of using language to get specific points across. Mark Steidl wrote an entire life story for a rabbit to play a joke on his principal. Anna Wroblewski shared the story of an inside joke that has been passed down and shared with family and friends. When sharing it with friends who didn’t speak English, she found it to be so universal that it didn’t need translation!