A year on, a 5k runner and faltering Gaelic speaker to the good – we are beginning to pull our heads out of the online world and hope stirs that we may be telling stories to more than just the cat again soon! Not that we haven’t learnt to enjoy some of the aspects of online telling and developing ideas by zoom and phone. It feels like its been a deep dive, I hope some good will surface from this time for all our us.
Among the steep learning curve that is online teling, I was delighted to be asked to give a little piece about Wolves as part of the Winter’s Last weekend in January with Taibhshear collective.
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.
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!
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!
We have discovered a fabulous new venue for testing our new Kamishibai storytelling: the Captain’s Cabin in the stunning wooden warship Unicorn docked along from the Discovery and the new V&A in Dundee. Maria and I and the Kamishibai spent a Saturday there last Christmas opening a treasure chest glittering with sea stories. Santa Claus did get to row aboard in one of them, but, in the main, lighthouses, sieves, seals and fish featured heavily, for a change at that time of the year! We learnt a lot about the boat as well, which is definitely food for another whole show. A 200 year old boat has gathered a lot of stories – we will be back to tell them as soon as we can without a doubt!
A few words from our hosts:‘As my first encounter with Kamishibai storytelling, I cannot wait for continuing our collaboration between HMS Unicorn and We Three Stories. I loved the energy and enthusiasm that Maria and Harriet bring to the event. The captivating storytelling and enacting leads to an active participation from the audience. We are looking forward to having you on board soon!’Thank you so much for your hospitality, Billy Rough, Andrea and Lucy! http://www.frigateunicorn.org/