Asked to explain the kind of stories she tells, Diane Ferlatte, one of six stellar performers headlining Mariposa County Arts Council's 27th Storytelling Festival, March 7-9, explaining: "African American, African folktales, historical, personal, ghostly, and any other tale that fits my mouth."
Wowing audiences across the globe, she has toured and performed internationally many times over. She has visited almost every state in the U.S., to perform at major festivals, theaters, conferences, universities, schools, libraries, senior centers, detention facilities, churches.
Why tell stories? " Because of experiences such as when I was performing at a senior center to a group of elderly women. They moved nary a muscle nor showed any emotion during the performance. They simply stared at me the entire time and had me asking myself was this a mistake or what? After the show, I asked for questions and one of the women stood up. I thought, "oh, oh what now?"
"When we first heard that there was going to be storytelling, we didn't want to come," she said. "We had no idea what you were going to talk about. But I must say I know I speak for all the ladies here. We're glad you came our way."
She comes closer and as she gives me a hug with what must have been all her strength because I could hardly breathe, she says to me, with misty eyes, 'Thank you, you made us all feel something.' and that's why I tell stories."
Diane is a master of the oral tradition and through stories, songs, American Sign Language, humor and audience participation, she brings her tales to life.
To purchase tickets to the 27th Mariposa Storytelling Festival, March 7 9, contact the Mariposa County Arts Council at (209) 966-3155, (800) 903-9936, or visit arts-mariposa.org.
The Mariposa County Arts Council is funded in part by Mariposa County, the California Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.