Cathryn passed away in October 2019 and will be deeply missed as a friend and a storyteller. In her own words about her storytelling from an interview last year with edex live –
I started storytelling 35 years ago. I have travelled around the world gathering epics, myths, legends, histories, and folk and fairy tales from the folk. I work with other storytellers whenever I travel; even in Chennai and Kanchipuram, I’ve worked with a few of them. I have travelled and learnt about different cultures and I’ve gone back to the US to share them with others. I like the fact that one can give people therapy and teach them how to listen and enjoy the entire experience. It’s not lecturing or commanding them to agree with you. It’s about helping them enjoy and learn something.
Brenda Wong Aoki is a storyteller, anthologized playwright, producer, artistic director, and performer. Her song/dance/dramas are drawn from her family’s 121-year history in San Francisco and the Bay Area, Kabuki legends, ghost stories, and her personal experience. Known for her agility across disciplines, she creates monodramas rooted in traditional storytelling, dance movement, and music. Her sensei is Living Treasure, Nomura Mansaku, a Kyogen master; she also studied Noh with Nomura Shiro, who is a Cultural Intangible Property. It is extremely rare for a woman (and especially an American woman) to get to study with masters like these; ironically, it is because she is an American that she was able to work with artists of this caliber. Her other teachers/coaches/mentors include stage director, choreographer, performer, and former director of Theatre of Yugen, Yuriko Doi, and longtime director and coach, Jael Weisman of Dell’Arte Players and the San Francisco Mime Troupe.