Foolish Jack

What happens when you have the right smile

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A widely-spread European folk tale. I had known it for years but it was only after seeing it performed for schoolchildren that I realised how much it was a tale begging me to tell it, too. And once I began, it began to grow.

For me, telling the tale had two problems.
One was how to present Jack: foolish; lazy? (Some time ago I was horrified to see one teller at an international festival going for cheap laughs as she contorted her face and mocked Jack’s spastic walk).
The other was where to introduce the princess, usually brought in only right at the end of the tale.
But solve the problems and this is a good example of a simple story not just for children. This recording was made in Dec. 2018 with an adult audience at halbNeun Theater, Darmstadt. (As you can tell from the audience reaction, I had already told another Jack tale earlier in the performance.)

Lazy Jack is Joseph Jacob’s version.


The video clips here are all amateur quality, shot in various theatres.

Their intention is just to show the range of my storytelling and give a flavour of a live performance.

Permission is granted for use in non-commercial educational contexts.

The videos are © Richard Martin.

Professionally recorded CDs and DVDs are available here.

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For those who are teachers: Telling stories in the classroom: basing language teaching on storytelling