ENCINITAS — Celebrated storyteller David Novak will showcase his interactive style in “A Telling Experience” at 7 p.m. March 3 at the Encinitas Library.
The event will be the second in a series of Cabaret Caccia presented in collaboration with the Downtown Encinitas Mainstreet Association.
Novak has performed around the world, from the Glistening Waters International Festival of Storytelling in Wairarapa, New Zealand to the Hong Kong International School in China and the Washington Storytellers’ Theatre in Washington, D.C. He was also a master storyteller for the Disney Institute at Walt Disney World.
His early years were spent in San Diego where he earned an M.F.A. in the Professional Actor Training Program at UCSD.
Cabaret Caccia founder Ann Chase recalls fond memories with Novak that go back a long time.
“Some years ago several of us in the artists’ community of San Diego were privileged to be chosen for a very special arts education program, modeled after the Lincoln Center Arts Institute in New York City: the San Diego Institute for Arts Education,” she remembers. “Three musicians, three actors, three dancers, and three visual artists collaborated with teachers in the San Diego community to create innovative arts projects for schoolchildren. It was an exciting and vibrant program, and David Novak was one of the most talented and stellar artists in the program. All of us were mesmerized by the communicative power of his voice and his stories.”
The theme for Sunday’s program will be The Separation of Heaven and Earth. Novak will move from personal anecdote into myth, poetry and current events as he explores the splitting of Heaven and Earth, land and sky, husband and wife, body and soul.
“It all started when I embraced my wife during the third trimester of her pregnancy,” he explained. “My son kicked from the womb and hit me hard in my gut, knocking the breath out of me. At that moment I understood the myth of Ouranos and Gaia in a completely new way.”
Like most people, he remembers storytelling beginning in childhood when he had to explain for the first time that something wasn’t his fault.
“After childhood I performed with the Ft. Lauderdale Children’s Theater, which was an experience that helped me to walk and talk and pretend to be a human being until I grew into one,” he recalls. “It gave me a lot of experience with stories.”
Novak started doing theater and in 1976 earned a B.F.A. from Southern Methodist University in Theatre Arts: Director.
“I worked as an actor, director and playwright and throughout it all my beginnings in children’s theatre stayed in education,” he said. “Around 1978-79 I had an opportunity to tell stories as a resident artist in St. Louis, Mo. It really appealed to me and was a surprise. As an art form, it brought out all my interests. It gave me a chance to be a self-made artist in a way.
“I talk frequently about how we can determine what we are going to become, but for me it was a surprise. It was the first thing I had never contrived to do, but it meant a lot of sense.”
Novak describes himself as a revivalist storyteller with a style that is theatrical, original and creative on a number of levels. Good storytellers, he added, are foremost good listeners.
“A good storyteller is looking for the right stories to tell for the right time and the right reason,” he said. “A story is something you tell to help someone. It has to have intention that on some level it is useful and relevant.
“My favorite as a kid was Bill Cosby. He was one of the great storytellers because he understood how to see the story in one’s life and exaggerate it as a child and see what was funny about it.
“Storytelling as an experience is a surprisingly ordinary behavior. The audience might be surprised by its simplicity, but still find it enchanting to rediscover the fabulous in the ordinary.”
Tickets for A Telling Experience are $15 at the door. For advance tickets visit encinitas101.com/store/. For more information about Novak visit novateller.com.