Wat­son shares fa­mous Sher­lock Homes story ‘Arthur Co­nan Doyle — ‘The Speck­led Band’

Sto­ry­teller will bring fic­tional side­kick to life at Flossmoor li­brary

Daily Southtown - - WEEKEND - By Jessi Vir­tu­sio Jessi Vir­tu­sio is a free­lance re­porter for the Daily South­town.

Fans of Bri­tish au­thor Sir Arthur Co­nan Doyle may wish they could have in­ter­acted with fic­tional de­tec­tive Sher­lock Holmes or his as­sis­tant, Dr. Wat­son.

Sto­ry­teller Me­gan Wells of­fers the clos­est thing to that ex­pe­ri­ence on Jan. 17 dur­ing “Arthur Co­nan Doyle — ‘The Speck­led Band’ ” at Flossmoor Pub­lic Li­brary.

“I dress as Wat­son. I tell it as Wat­son,” Wells said via phone from her La Grange home.

“The ex­pe­ri­ence is di­rect ad­dress. It’s not like watch­ing a play where it hap­pens and you’re only a quiet ob­server. It’s more like Wat­son is ac­tu­ally in the room with you telling his story di­rectly to you, so it’s a very en­gag­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I’m known for that in­ter­ac­tion with the au­di­ence that makes the his­tor­i­cal seem present.”

Wells’ telling of “The Ad­ven­ture of the Speck­led Band” marks a re­turn to Flossmoor Pub­lic Li­brary, where she has done pre­sen­ta­tions on Mary Shel­ley, au­thor of “Franken­stein; or, The Modern Prometheus,” and Maria Anna Mozart, sis­ter of com­poser Wolf­gang Amadeus Mozart.

“I love the au­di­ences at li­braries. They’re al­ways su­per in­tel­li­gent and very en­gaged,” said Wells, who has been a tour­ing sto­ry­teller since 1992.

“Sto­ry­telling for me is evo­lu­tion­ary. It’s the brain’s ca­pac­ity to change and evolve all of what is con­tained within sto­ries and sto­ry­telling. It’s the way our brains are wired so the more you lis­ten to sto­ries and tell sto­ries, the more you evolve as hu­man be­ings and, there­fore, as cul­ture. It moves our cul­ture for­ward.”

Wells is a long­time Sher­lock Holmes fan.

“I’m a puz­zle solver so I al­ways loved to watch how Sir Arthur Co­nan Doyle was with­hold­ing the mo­ment. I just love read­ing it and watch­ing the au­thor work his way through Wat­son and Holmes,” she said.

“We all crave a prob­lem solver and a ge­nius. We want to know that there are lead­ers out there who are un­canny smart. We feel safer when we read or see Sher­lock Holmes.

“‘The Speck­led Band’ is Arthur Co­nan Doyle’s ab­so­lute fa­vorite. I think that it’s be­cause it’s the first time that Dr. Wat­son ac­tu­ally re­al­ized that Sher­lock can be afraid. He’s coura­geous and mas­ter­ful but he’s not su­per­hu­man,” she said. “Dr. Wat­son’s ad­mi­ra­tion for him in­creases ex­po­nen­tially.”

Wells started as an ac­tress and di­rec­tor and also worked as a com­mu­ni­ca­tion con­sul­tant to For­tune 500 com­pa­nies be­fore Rafe Martin en­cour­aged her to “find sto­ries you love and tell them” af­ter she shared a per­sonal story at a fes­ti­val open mic where he was serv­ing as master of cer­e­monies.

“I went to the Na­tional Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val in Jones­bor­ough, Tenn., and ab­so­lutely fell in love with the art form,” said Wells, who has been artis­tic di­rec­tor of the Ray Brad­bury Sto­ry­telling Fes­ti­val since 2007 and a guest artist for the Chicago Sym­phony Orches­tra for “Once Upon a Sym­phony” since 2012.

“I love the im­me­di­acy the au­di­ence feels in sto­ry­telling plus it opens up a whole world of folk­lore, myth, lit­er­a­ture and per­sonal sto­ries. I’m no longer lim­ited to only play scripts.”

South­landers who want to delve into sto­ry­telling do not have to go far.

“Home­wood Sto­ries is the best place to start in the area. It’s at the Rav­is­loe Coun­try Club once a month on the third Tues­day,” Wells said.

“It’s new tell­ers and ex­pe­ri­enced tell­ers to­gether for one fab­u­lous night of sto­ry­telling. Peo­ple get in­spired by it. There are other sto­ry­tellers there you get to meet and you find your way.”

ME­GAN WELLS

Sto­ry­teller Me­gan Wells per­forms a pre­sen­ta­tion on Ir­ish au­thor Os­car Wilde at the Ir­ish Amer­i­can Her­itage Cen­ter in Chicago. She will present “Arthur Co­nan Doyle — ‘The Speck­led Band’ ” on Jan. 17 at Flossmoor Pub­lic Li­brary.

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