Robert Malo has told several of his stories more times than he can count, but works to make them fresh each time.
The 33-year-old West Broadway resident regularly regales listeners young and old in character as TiBert le Voyageur, a character he created when working at the St. Boniface Museum, Manitoba Museum, and Fort Gibraltar approximately a decade ago. Malo came from a franco-Manitobain family, and can work in both French and English.
"I never write (the story) down, so there’s the odd time I’m going to forget something, or I’m going to be in a different mood and want to push the story in a different way," said Malo, who has a background in business administration. "There’s that moment, that strange space when you’re improvising. The crowd knows it, too.
"That’s what I try to reach every time, even with stories I’ve told 300 times. I still want to try to get to that point."
Malo said he hopes to find that moment once again — and then point it out to guests at an upcoming storytelling workshop.
The free workshop will take place at Sam’s Place (159 Henderson Hwy.) on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. with an open mic at 8 p.m. The workshop is open to youth aged 15 to 18, and their parents, and is organized by Chah Ram Bay, a non-profit after-school program focused on bringing arts and culture to local youth.
Malo’s main gig is going into schools to present curriculum-based programming, which he has been doing for just over a year, but he is open to trying all kinds of events, including the workshop.
Malo’s main form of communication is oral storytelling, though he has a grounding in music,
poetry, and improv — he coaches a team in La ligue d’improvisation du Manitoba. As an entertainer, Malo has well over four hours of material, ranging from music to games to artifacts, which can be tailored to the audience. He’ll read his crowd at the workshop to determine how best to use the time.
"I do have a ‘storytelling and legends’ workshop, so if nobody comes up with a specific kind of want, we’re probably going to fall into the discussion of how stories have evolved to today," said Malo, noting the three broad types of stories are used for information, for entertainment, and for wisdom. "Since the beginning of speech, we’ve been sharing these types of stories, and as a storyteller, the thing I’ve discovered is the best stories — the ones that stick around, the ones we listen to over and over again — are the ones that mix the three together."