The inaugural Beaufort Intergalactic Storytelling Festival captured a bit of history. Professional storyteller Dolores Hydock recently released a CD of her one-woman show, "In Her Own Fashion," which tells the life of Southern fashionista Ninette Griffith. The recording was made at Beaufort's storytelling festival at ARTworks earlier this year.
"(Griffith) had such great stories to tell," said Hydock, a resident of Birmingham, Ala. "I just wanted as many people to hear it as possible."
Before coming to the Beaufort fest, she contacted Jen and Jeremy Haden of Strings N Things, a music store based at ARTworks, about recording the performance. The recording turned out so well that she decided to make a CD from it. Part of the success of the recording was the audience reacting to the story without distracting from it.
"Storytelling is a community event. Hearing an audience makes you feel as if you are there. Part of the experience is experiencing it with everyone else," she said.
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Hydock has performed across the country as a storyteller, including at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, Tenn. She first met Griffith about 20 years ago. Griffith was born in Birmingham in 1913 and led a full life. She balanced raising a family with a career overseeing fashion at Loveman's in downtown Birmingham, back in a time when department stores were a center of high fashion. More than anything else, she had great stories -- and she knew how to tell them.
Hydock started recording those stories about four years ago, listening to them over and over to capture the cadence of her voice and the style of her story. She fashioned them into a one-woman show that debuted two years later in Birmingham.
"I just loved that woman," Hydock said. "She was funny and spunky and full of life. She represented a period of time we will never see again."
Griffith was in the audience for the debut performance. She died several months later, a week after her 97th birthday. A strange thing happened about a month before her death -- she stopped talking. She stopped telling her stories. She never really indicated why. But Hydock feels as if Griffith knew that she had been heard.
"She got to hear her story told. She got that experience. And isn't that what we all want? We want our story told," she said.