LACONIA — Master storyteller Odds Bodkin brought Laconia High School students back to the roots of literature with a masterful 90-minute telling of ''The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast'' Friday morning in the school auditorium.
Using a 12-string guitar, a versatile voice which provides vocal effects such as the sound of wind, birds chirping and a surging sea, Bodkin deftly establishes the character of those his voice portrays and creates a world which brings the imagination of his audience to life.
Bodkin told the freshman and sophomore students that he hoped that he would disappear from their sight as the story progresses and that their imaginations would take over and they would instead see with their mind's eye the characters and scenes he was describing.
Students for the most part listened intently and quickly became absorbed in the story with virtually all raising their hands at the end of the story to indicate that they were seeing it in their mind throughout.
Bodkin, who lives in Bradford, is a graduate of Duke University who taught storytelling and imagination for seven years at Antioch New England Graduate School while pursuing a full-time career as a children's author and musical storyteller.
He has been a featured teller at The National Storytelling Festival, performed twice at The White House, and at schools, universities, museums and theaters across America. He has told stories and conducted workshops as far afield as Bangkok, Thailand and Great Britain.
His performance was sponsored by the Putnam Fund, which brings nationally known performers to Laconia on a regular basis.
Putnam Fund trustee Charles Bradley told the students to ''like'' the performance on the Fund's Facebook page if they would like to see more performances of the same high caliber in city schools.
He said that the fund spends about $70,000 a year to bring free performances to the city.
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Master Storyteller Odds Bodkin performed at Laconia High School Friday morning as part of the Putnam Fund Series. Bodkins told the story ''The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast'' to freshman and sophomore students who were mesmerized by his 90-minute performance. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
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Charles Bradley of the Putnam Fund talks with Laconia High School students following Odds Bodkin's performance at the school Friday morning. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)