11 outings for Dagba on his bike, and the whole of Maria’s Minnie Lindsay run at the Edinburgh Festival are casualties along with so much else in the world of ‘arts and entertainments’ and we are confined to our houses and exiled into the internet for the duration.
But its not all bad. We are learning to dip our toes into technology.
And it is with HUGE delight that I can report that we have been awarded a bursary from the Andy Hunter Bursary fund to develop ideas using the kamishibai to hold performance space in an outdoor ritual or exploration which has allowed Maria and I to devote our Friday afternoons to regular teleconferencing and our weeks to various iterations of self-imposed ‘homework’
I am exquisitely grateful to the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Anne Hunter for giving us this amazing opportunity to impose structure on our time in isolation as well as the simple joy in development for its own sake.
Telling ‘The Lazy Snowdrop’ at Harrow Green Community Library just before the public gathering shutdown. A great crew of about 10 kids and their adults who thoroughly engaged with the myths and delights of springtime – even if dandelions seem rather thin on the ground in deepest Leytonstone! The new box went really well – it is absolutely pared back and can simply rest on my knee as I tell so it became an organic part of the telling, but can also be made a focal point to perform to or even put aside easily. A welcome addition to our flexibility with these cards – and a new suite of pictures from me to illustrate our spring flowers theme – channelling my inner botanical artist!
Maria’s amazing family project based on letters found in the Glen Esk Museum stunning evocative of two lost worlds – the rich and complex pre WW1 rural life of Scottish glens and the wilderness of the Canadian gold rush, written by Maria with music composed by Georgina with the letters brought to authentic life by Alan’s poignant reading gets two more well-deserved outings in a mini-tour of North-East Scotland. Shows at:
Autumn has seen Maria outshine herself with the premier of Miss Lindsay’s Secret, a project she has been working on around letters from the Glen Esk Museum, which went down a storm at the Edinburgh International Storytelling Festival and is soon to tour the North East with fabulous original music from her daughter Georgina and resonant readings from Alan Finalyson.
Meanwhile Dagba has not been forgotten and has had a couple of outings on his bicycle which is becoming ever more integrated into the show in the library at the Scottish Storytelling Centre and soon to ride around Edinburgh in April next year as part of the Puppet Animation Festival – and even further if we can get our legs in training to take him!
And don’t forget Christmas! A couple of library tellings at the National Library of Scotland accompanied by Christmas songs to keep the ukuleles in tune, and our winter fixture, back with Bob Mitchell and the Burgh Blatherers, the Winter Warmer coming up on 6th December at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.
Finishing 2019 with a bang and making plans for 2020
Audience every day, a really good pub function room venue, fabulous festival energy from our fellow free fringers, and experience any budding storyteller would pay money out for doing the same show every day for 6 days – its a real baptism of fire for structuring the show depending on the audience in front of you, thinking on the hoof and, frankly, performing under pressure! All hugely enjoyable. If anyone is thinking of doing it next year I would pass on the tip that COMFORTABLE SHOES are essential: The fliering is relentless!
The result is a profit-making show, at last, however: We covered our costs on Thursday – we have six days to make the price of a slap up meal for the team in the dark days of September once the air is sucked out of Edinburgh and the Festival is over!
My best moment so far was fliering the same family again by mistake as they ate al-fresco macaroni cheese in George Square, and having the daughter ask her mum if she could go again because she’d enjoyed it so much the first time!
Our draft leaflet is nearly ready to go to press and behind the scenes frenzied artistic talent being mined to get pictures for all our stories. It is an interesting balance between cartoon illustration of every point and more fluid images which allow the story hearer’s imagination full play. We are highlighting images for the songs because we hope that helps our audience to sing along. It is also interesting deciding which scene from each story would benefit from an image and working with emphasis and even misdirection as we draw the slides over. It will be a great test of the format if we can gather enough audience into the function room at Bar Revolution! I’m looking out for nice comfortable shoes to go flyering in!!
Just seven weeks to go till our Edinburgh Free Fringe Debut (11.10 to 12 at Revolution Function Room in Chambers Street – a 22 day run with a 50 minute childrens Kamishibai show) and we’ve still to finalise the programme let alone draw pictures! A huge amount of behind-the-scenes ‘business’ has gone on with paint, saws, fireproofing spray and unusual trolleys to accomplish the set – I may even have found a solution to allow us to use the bicycle as the stage at last – but none of it is putting stories into our mouths yet!
We do have a vague outline, however. With Maria busy on the Minnie Lindsay project for the October Storytelling Festival (of which more anon) I only have her for the final week when we will reprise Dagba. Week one will be shared with Ines Alvarez and we will make a show about animals using the elephant in the forest ‘silent movie’ motif I originally designed the Kamishibai for nearly 18 months ago now. Week 2 will feature Beverley Casebow and I making a nice flow with Scottish Myths – I am delving into Glasgow playground songs and ditties to find our ‘poem’ though I am also contemplating Coulter’s Candy or Three Craws on a Wa’…. Decisions decisions!
I can’t wait to call myself an Edinburgh Fringe Performer!
Home after a fabulous day at the Retreat in Glen Esk on the hottest Easter Sunday on record – a timely reminder of the theme of our show, but what a glorious setting in the bowl of the glen, and lovely last two audiences in our puppet festival debut. We were keeping a record of the offerings for the most beautiful palace in the world: so far we’ve had libraries, and video games (of course!) gold, princesses, queens, gyms, spas, golden flags, theatres, chocolate bars, and today we got some mermaids – sparkling mermaids sitting in pools lined with pure marble listening to the fountains playing and whirlpool slides … a wonderful palace finale to our little tour
Dagba is resting now, until his next great outing in the Edinburgh festival fringe in August and possibly a slot in the Storytelling Centre in the Autumn if we can fit it in!
On to the next projects, which might include some fishy tales from Scottish mythology depending how our drawing skills develop!
A great day ‘instagramming’ our way around our various transport links between the two Edinburgh Libraries – Oxgangs to Moredun where we told to VERY different audiences. I feel I’ve still a long way to go in captivating a free range audience, but the shows in dedicated rooms went excellently which is encouraging for the development of our little peice in the future!
‘Animating’ the djinns at The Village Storytelling Centre as our little show reaches its climax! We’ve done three performances so far, and our skills in getting the trolleys on and off buses are growing exponentially. Its been fascinating how different audiences bring such different atmospheres to the tellings, and so far Dagba has stood up well to audiences from 10 to 3 year olds – Faced with a roomful of toddlers for our 5 plus show Maria and I decided not to compromise and see what unfolded: storytelling itself is such a primal thing it seems to touch the heart whether or not the language is at ‘the right level’ – and luckily we seemed to get away with it!!
All the way from Edinburgh’s Tollcross to Glasgow’s Pollock with two trolleys by public transport to entertain the Easter Club at the Village Storytelling Centre : our first trip with the larger Kamishibai and Dagba’s Forest Tales. What an adventure. Obviously our first brush with stairs! and rain!