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Once Upon a Time There Was a Storyteller . . .

October 08, 1992|JANICE L. JONES | Janice L. Jones is a member of The Times Orange County Edition staff.

Melba Jones, a part-time storyteller and librarian from San Juan Capistrano, is out to prove that story time isn't just for children. "Everyone enjoys the humor of a good yarn and the drama of an interestingly told tale," says Jones, who has organized "Once Upon a Story--A Festival of Tales" to be held in San Juan this weekend.

Jones has assembled an all-star lineup, including storytellers who performed at the recent National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, Tenn. The two-day event will feature stories from African, Irish, Hispanic and early American cultures including tales of early San Juan.

"Anyone who enjoys history and folklore will be enthralled," Jones promises. The storytellers, who come from a vast array of backgrounds, will be drawing upon legend and fact to weave their various tales.

One of the storytellers, Diane Ferlatte, spent a month gathering tales from the elderly descendants of a slave colony on Sapelo Island, off the coast of Georgia. Ferlatte's performance, "Sapelo: Time is Winding Up," will employ music and drama Saturday night at 9 at the San Juan Library. Sign language interpretation will be provided.

Other storytellers who will be there:

* Jim Cogan, an educator and historian whose tales are inspired by old newspaper clippings, oral histories and his experiences as an artist, journalist and naturalist.

* Brian Conroy, a historian who specializes in Irish tales and the early days of the San Juan Capistrano Mission.

* Martha Holloway, a Texan whose trademarks are ghost stories and tales of the Old South.

* Nailah Malik, who incorporates dance into her multicultural presentation.

* David Novak, a former Shakespearean actor who specializes in heroic tales. Novak tours for the Lincoln Center Institute for Arts Education in New York and the Los Angeles Music Center Arts Education Foundation.

* Cary Trivanovich, a comedic mime whose "silent stories" include messages of self-esteem and motivation.

What: "Once Upon a Story--A Festival of Tales."

When: Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9 and 10.

Where: The San Juan Capistrano Regional Library and the adjacent Old Fire Station Recreation Complex.

Whereabouts: Take the San Diego (5) Freeway to the Ortega Highway exit and head west. Turn north onto El Camino Real. The library and fire station are just past the mission, near the corner of Acjachema Street.

Wherewithal: Tickets to each event are $5 for adults, $2 for children (but some events are free).

Where to call: (714) 830-7807.

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