Johnson entertains with folk tales, life lessons
Published 8:23 pm Thursday, February 27, 2014
The Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library in Brundidge presented Safiya Johnson, founder of the Good Times Traveling Theater and popular storyteller, at its Black History program Thursday at Brundidge Station.
Johnson had the kids laughing and giggling as they stretched their imaginations. The adults in the audience couldn’t hold back the laughter and perhaps their imaginations were stretched just a bit, too.
Johnson told African-American folk tales about a mule that won’t work and another about Brother Rabbit. She also told stories from around the world including a Haitian folk tale about a trickster spider.
Johnson’s performances are fun entertainment, but they also convey messages, “important messages.” And she has found that folk tales are intriguing ways to convey the messages to kids.
“My stories have messages about family relations, girl empowerment, anti-bullying, about getting along with others and, other messages that young people need to hear,” Johnson said.
“I chose folk tales because they are the original stories, the original social media.”
Johnson grew up listening to stories.
She was so fascinated by the spoken word that, as an adult, she founded the Good Times Traveling Theater in 2011 and goes around the country telling tales – folk tales.
“I can take you all around the world in 45 minutes,” Johnson said. “I tell folk tales from America, from Europe, Africa, Asia. I am a storyteller, but I am more of a one woman theater because I use sets and costumes and act out the folk tales from around the world.”
Because February is Black History Month, Jonhson’s performance at Brundidge Station Thursday was “Brother Rabbit and His Mischievous Buddies”
Jennifer Amlong, children’s librarian, said Johnson was a highly entertaining storyteller and the messages she related in her stories are very relevant today.
“Everyone enjoyed her stories and she is an outstanding storyteller,” Amlong said. “We hope to have her back, maybe for our summer reading program.”