Talking Scary Stories

Darby Sanders Storytelling Blog Leave a Comment

As Portland Story Theater’s tellers put the final, terrifying touches on their stories for this weekend’s Halloween-inspired Spellbound show, founders Lynne Duddy and Lawrence Howard take some time out of their hectic week to reflect on what makes this a unique performance in their storytelling season.


Does the storytelling process change when telling personal scary stories versus other stories of love or meaningful moments? 

LYNNE: No. The process remains the same. It requires that the storyteller be present emotionally, drawing on the truth of the situation, making it real. With a scary story that can sometimes be challenging in that when you are expressing something very out of the ordinary, it is critical the emotional truth of the story be evident.

LAWRENCE: Yes, it changes a bit because, for me, anyway, I have not had that many supernatural experiences, so I feel like it’s ok to take a bit more ‘literary license” to highlight or emphasize the spooky or supernatural aspect of the story.

How do you select tellers for a MainStage show like Spellbound?

LYNNE: After a storyteller has taken a few workshops with us, we have a good idea of who they are and their approach to this work. If someone shows strength and potential for growth in the expression of this art form, and they are easy to work with, we invite them to participate in a Mainstage show.

How can the audience participate in the spooky festivities?

LAWRENCE: Well, they can come to the show and just listen to the music and the stories. They can wear a costume, they can have their photos taken with a scary background with fun props at the Halloween photobooth; the can buy raffle tickets and try to win some cool prizes; they can enter the contest for the best costume.

What kind of evening can audience members expect when they arrive to the Alberta Abbey on October 24th?

Lynne Duddy and Lawrence Howard

LYNNE: Warm and welcoming with a touch of spooky. All the stories are real and true.

LAWRENCE: It’s going to be fun!! We have great live music by Meoneo, all the way from Bonn, Germany. And a real nice variety of stories, from the vaguely mysterious to the downright terrifying. This will be the first time we are doing the Halloween show at the Alberta Abbey, so it’s going to be different than it’s ever been before, but we are expecting a big audience, and I think the energy is going to be really high.

Catch Spellbound this Saturday, October 24th at the Alberta Abbey! Doors open at 7 pm.

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