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Posted on January 11, 2024

By Michael Winn
Associate Artistic Director/Director of Equity and Community Partnerships  

Folklore includes the traditional stories and culture of a group of people. The word was first used by English writer and historian William Thoms in 1846. It combines the words “folk,” which means people, and “lore” from the old English word lār, which means instruction. It is the collection of beliefs, customs, and stories of a community passed through generations by word of mouth—myths, songs, fairy tales, lullabies, oaths, poems, names, jokes, superstitions, and blessings are a few examples.

One of the many ways we experience folklore today is through theatrical performance. American folklorist Roger D. Abrahams states, “Folklore is folklore only when performed.” Theatre allows artists to bring these stories to life in the ways they were told traditionally. Theatre performance usually involves playfulness, perspective, symbolic language, and fantasy. In viewing the performance, the audience leaves their daily reality to move into a mode of make-believe, or “what if?”

The story of the Carp began as a Chinese legend, wherein these recognizable fish are very strong swimmers that overcome many challenges and difficulties. Graceful, vibrant, and respected throughout the world, carp, known as koi in Japan, are also associated with positive energy, strength, perseverance, and determination.

Folklore serves to teach and preserve culture. It is essential in passing on the stories, and in carrying on the traditions, of the people who first imagined these instructive and inspiring tales.

To learn more about the show and to purchase tickets, visit