Traditional forms of the postmodern environment the story teller as a performer

The narration of the events and situations, human actions and behaviors with cosmological, ethical, social or other context, as the capture of the spirit, via the human being tried  to give the picture that he had for the world and its place in it. With a way purely imaginary and mythological at first that was made more objective later, he passed from the myth to the legend, in tradition and  they were transformed into history and science

With this creation the human of prehistoric and archaic period of the rural and nomadic world, managed to overcome the religious, social or other borders and express his personal speech, interpreting the world and the phenomena  (Baker and Green 1977:1). That’s why since then  it became the ideal way of teaching and spreading the religious and ethical values, cosmological ideas and traditions, which had the form of the legend and parable, myth and fairytale , which was used from time to time by important people (religious, politicians, leaders), in order to express their ideas and their beliefs. Through such narrations the man at the beginning of the civilization starts to understand his present and his position in the world, whereas the same time he gains his  future time, with the transfer of the knowledge that he has obtained in the following generations(Coulter 2007:105) .

At this early stage of its creation the narration can be considered as a method of saving the memory of its past and the experience of the society, which  recaps, rearranges and attaches classified. Through this oral  narration, with meanings that are constructed verbally, makes a continuity and coherence, that manages to touch emotionally the audience to whom he is addressed.

With similar recounting stories, the customs, the values, the fears and the expectations of the group become the possession of its members, they transfer from generation to generation, they justify its presence and its development in time and the create its worldview  as a unified existence (Roney1989: 520-523) .All of these in a period before the creativity of the writing, when oral speech was the only way of expressing the thoughts and the emotions of the human being.

It is about the period of the cultural creation that has been successfully been called “Primary Orality” (Org 1982), which corresponds to the primitive thought which is illogical and not scientific perhaps, according to our criteria, but absolutely constructed and justified through its cultural environment (Strauss 1966). The orality of the speech gives the opportunity to express its meaning in words, while the sound of the meanings allows the understanding of space and time, that include the conscience of the person (Biakolo 1999:44).

The orality of the speech, in order to increase its memory, through which it can only survive and spread, it uses specific stylistics, conceptual and communicative characteristics (Ong 1982: 41-57).Such are the emphatic and repetitive speech that causes the focusing of the attention and intensifies the memory , whereas with the dramatization of the narration and the absolutism of contrasting double meanings of the type  ‘‘good-bad’’ becomes easier the participation  and the communicative skill on behalf of the receiver (Ong 1989: 36-57).

It is also the simple structure, with the cumulative redundant speech, with common meaningful and verbal contrasts, with alliterations sound making words, with  a lot of proverbs and mottos, All of them lead to the memorization, whereas we can not ignore the placidity and the progress of the speech, which adjusts every time to the specific communicative and transforms its context, making it acceptable from the specific audience to which is addressed to. Finally it is worth mentioning  the codified knowledge and the typical repetitive narration, such as the form of the actors, in a way as to make  immediately comprehensive the meaning of the actions and the activities that are taking shape through narration , letting at the same time the identification and creating the conditions for the participation of the audience during the events (Ong 1982: 41-71, Stock 1984: 14-29).

With the creation of the writing and the gradual literacy, the previous situation is passing by . New data are added and through a new reality  in contrast with the previous makes its appearance . It is the ‘’Secondary Orality’’, a term which is justified by Ong (1982,1984: 1-12), that starts with the establishment and the spread of the writing and continues via latins during Middle Ages reaching mainly the invention and spread of Printing (Orson and Torrance 1991).

The orality, without punctuation, is included in the written speech with various ways and forms, that record the textualilty of the previous oral tradition and they registered it according to prefabricated language models (Hoch bruck 1996:133). Usually  the oral elements are added in the written text, while the respective characteristics of the written speech are added gradually in the oral –folk, creating an interrelationship and influence between  artistic and folk (Hoch bruck 1996:34 –Ong 1984:3), that gradually makes the function of the narration different, which (above all these), continues to be based on the sound making transferring of the message (Ong 1984:1).

With the establishment of Printing, the gradual spread of school education and literacy, knowledge starts  to be conquered and be expressed differently , via book and reading and not only narration and oral speech, which develops and differentiates the language in grammar-structure and in terms of meaning: The paratactic speech  replaced by the underling speech, the active by the passive voice, the simple  small from the big complex sentences, e.t.c. (Biakolo 1999: 54-55). The speech stops having the basic distinguishing elements of  the oral, unique and unrepeatable text, which in turn  responds to the picture making more, than sound making meanings, that are organized in the text (pages of the book) rather than the time of the narration, that are perceived in the same way by the reader and not the listener.

This period is parallel to the developments  that take place in the society and history , with the  development of the small industry at first and later with the industrialization, and the introduction of the machine in the production and transferring of the products, the gathering of the rural people  in the cities and the transforming of the economy from rural into trade. It is completed with the development and the establishment of technology and mass media, which reverse the relationship that connected the signifier withthe signified, according to the emblematic phrase said  by M. McLouhan (1962) that “picture is the message’’.Based on this datum , the initial invention of the speech (‘‘primary orality’’) and its post progress  in the phonetic alphabet and from there to printing (‘’secondary orality’’), today leads to the electronic communication that reconstructs in depth the human conscience and transfers the limits and the abilities of the human imagination.

The narrator in traditional societies is free from all commitments in narrating the story, which forms spontaneously according to the conditions of the particular moment, corresponding to the expectations of the specific audience to which he is addressed to. With the change on the pronunciation of the speech and the coloring of the voice, the volume and the intonation of the words, the utterance and the idiomatic pronunciation, achieves not only to narrate the narrative story , but also to give color and meaning in parts of the action and in words of the narration with special value, that tie the consciousness of the listeners. In parallel with the phonetic code, it uses the stylistic, with grimaces, with expressions and intentional changes in the expression that accompany the speech and intonate the intensity or cause relaxation and amuse the audience. Finally, with small movements of his body, intentional changes in his body position, he comes to create the appropriate communicative framework, in which is includes the narrated story.

In this way and with the help of the basic characteristics of orality for which it has already been made a reference, the narrator is transformed into an animator that embodies in an existential way the story  and transforms it into a sound making picture, in front of everyone that watches  mainly by listening rather than watching.The listener that perceives the recounting story , accepts it very differently that the reader, because in contrast with the one that perceives the speech that  has been recorded into  a textual speech , the first one accepts it framed through the personal data of the narrator (Chesin 1996: 212).As a result we have the magic and the unique of the narration (in contrast with oral story, into a form of ‘’hypertext, that gets its meaning independently every time by the listener as the main receiver.

The narrator is placed «in media res» and performs the story in a quite convincing way, since it is also believable by the narrator and by the members of the group t which he is addressed to. In this way it is activated an interactive, mutual communication, which is not only based on the existence of the live spectacle, but also on the main internal coherence that connects the narrator with his audience.

The objective world an time of the narration, is very close to the ones that exist in the fairy tale . The narrator and his listeners take part in a «homo narrative» way in the narrative time, regarding it as real, through the process of the illusion, what they that it is not imaginary. The achievements and the heroic actions, the trials and the excesses, the mixture of the real with the imaginary facts, the overlap of the historic by the non-historical events, the conjugation magical with objective events, all of which represent a unity that gets flesh and bones and becomes live in performance, almost as a spectacle, in front of the audience, by the art of the narration.

And here is the value and the status of the story teller: how he can achieve, using only his voice, to enliven  people and situations  completely imaginary and unrealistic, making them participants in the action and leading them through the sufferings and the adventures of the heroes and the  heroines of the fairy tale, the purification, with the psychoanalytic, the sociological and  the existential meaning of the term.This is the art of the narration and this is the role of the story teller with the traditional societies of the past, when orality was the unique, or at least the irreplaceable worth of the speech and the paper spread of literature. Its function, is based on the creation of the submission, in the marvelously atmospheric of the communication, in the interactive and mutual function, that causes the effortless emotional communion of the listeners and the development of an illusionary relationship of a theatre style, among the transmitter  (story teller) and the receiver (listeners) of the narration.

In our days, with the development of the computer science and the spectacle and generally the power of the visualized symbols, the traditional ways and the techniques of communication that are based on speech and only (oral or written) have significantly weakened and to a great extent tend to be replaced by them . That’s why the traditional narration has got away from its initial levels and the way that used to function and has been transformed into a kind of stage entertainment that looks like «performance», emphasizing the same (or more) on the visual and theatrical code of communication rather than the literary of the narrating text.The voice code of the narrator continues to operate and provide great value. At the same time it is enriched with elements and data of «acting», like moving or the morphology of the face, that turn him from «narrator» to an «actor». The third person of the narrative recounting often turns into the first person of the immediate, experiential action of the «actor», the indirect speech becomes direct, the parts of the dialogue are amplified, the rhythm of the narration fluctuates. In this way the narration turns into a live stage spectacle that is performed in front of the audience and not anymore listeners.

In his effort to succeed in this, the modern narrator enriches his speech with elements of «theatricality», and represents on stage the «roles» that he enlivens with the help of lighting and music, the settings and décor. He takes advantage of simple settings, masks, accessories, constructions, clothes, objects, in order to form graphically the place and the time that he narrates, in order to enliven his «heroes», and their action. In this way, the narrator is turned into a «show man» and its performance into the «performance», since it uses and connects the various and of different origin codes, like pantomime, improvisation, movement and dance, recitation, addressing to an audience that follows him and communicates with him, in a theatrical type of performance.

Today the conditions are different for acquiring and spreading the knowledge that have to a great extent changed, since learning and informing take place through books, documents and pictures of various types, that as a total consist of products of written and visualized speech (Biakolo 1999:45). The modern audience of a narration has surpassed from the attitude and the expectations of a traditional social group in pre-industrialized era and they are familiarized with the audiovisual means, the video art, the electronic music and the digital reality. That’s why the traditional story teller owns to develop and from an animator to become a performer in the modern society of the spectacle.Comprehending this change, can help indirectly the understanding of the position and the role that the narrator in traditional societies has successfully been attributed with the term ‘‘habitus’’ that was introduced by P. Bourdieu .According to him, the “taste’’ is something acquired that via the frequent repetition leads to the realization of the class body.

In this sense, the body language of the narrator in traditional societies exists more than the corresponding in modern societies, in which the experiential values of the listeners , have differentiated from the corresponding of the past, according to the reading theories .He is obliged to fulfill to these new data , the narrator is forced to get away from the traditional frames of the narration and to  transform in a different, more modern way his speech, being a performer, who embodies and gives meaning to the prevailed aspects of the culture in which he belongs to. As a result, the body and his speech, stop being simple means of transferring knowledges and experiences of the past to the listeners of the present and are turned into a  «vehicle of meaning», of an alive cultural and social reality.

Taking part into the narration-performance, the modern narrator-performer  presents his identity and his mood  to articulate and act whatever interests him without psychologisms, only through emotional stages of the soul, the world and the history.This kind of performance is created by the modern narrator, who gets away from the simple sound making of the words and their meaning and creates the  visualization of the speech, that is perceived by the audience and not only the traditional listener. The speech, the phonological code continues to be in priority, but the importance of acting is accompanied with other codes, such as the visualized and music, creating form of modern performance.The evaluation of the modern technology through the technique of the animation movies and video- art, with the use of  sound and visuals and the use by the  black theatre and the shadow theatre, represent a few of the data that the narrator comes up with, in order to present a spectacle impressive and interesting.The listeners –audience are familiarized with the techniques of the narration, but mainly the visualized symbols of the modern society of the spectacle, they   accept relieved this hybrid spectacle and they are satisfied with its parameters that create a successful   conjugation of the traditional with the modern, the past with the present, In this way, a new form of narration is created and a new evolutionary stage in longitudinal course of this kind appears which has to be studied by the experts and be  widely recognized by its natural receivers.


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