Storytelling – getting the pictures from my head into yours

Projects

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Here is Sisyphus, being supervised by Persephone, as he sets about rolling his stone up to the top of the hill, in order to see it rolling down again.

My Projects are the things I will do when I have the time and the inclination, or when somebody makes a specific request, for instance:

Iliad

Odyssey

Gottfried von Strassburg’s Tristan

Das Nibelungenlied

Hartmann von Aue’s Der Arme Heinrich

1001 Nights –  a full investigation of Sir Richard Burton’s translation, sorting out the ones I like and the ones I could tell.

The Ocean of the Streams of Story – ditto!

Boccaccio, Straparola, Basile and Italo Calvino’s collection of Italian Folktales

Screen to Story

Opera I’ve done it once, relatively spontaneously, in school, when I told the story of Tosca, which is a pretty good story with two twists instead of just one. The Ring is tempting, but could be too silly – “she is the only woman Siegfried has ever met who hasn’t been his auntie [roar of laughter from audience] I’m not making this up, you know!” – the wonderful Anna Russell. Rigoletto would probably work, because of its dreadful twist. I suspect that Cosi Fan Tutte would be possible, and also Le Nozze di Figaro [though the multiple disguises in the garden scene would be a nightmare to remember…].

Memories of the Future SF stories have always enthralled me, but they are difficult to “tell” – after all, if the climax is the destruction of the universe, who is there left to narrate it? Good material would be Arthur C. Clarke’s The Nine Billion Names of God [which I have heard Paul Butler tell] and The Star [which I have told]; Fredric Brown’s Answer [which I have told]; and Ursula K. Le Guin’s  Nine Lives [which I have come very close to telling]. I’d love to tell Clifford Simak’s Skirmish – but there is a big narrator problem, unless I do what Orson Welles did with The War of the Worlds and pretend it’s happening now

Text to Tale [this applies to a lot of the things above, inasmuch as they are written down – but many of them were designed for recitation in public, and not for silent, solitary reading, so that turning them back into the spoken word does not seem so outlandish – but I’ll discuss the logic on the appropriate page].

Projects already accomplished, due for revival:

Three Men in a Boat 2001, at the Nuffield Theatre one Sunday night – should have been in the bar, but they sold 130-odd tickets and had to put me in the main house… Not storytelling, as such, because I learnt the text and stayed faithful to it, knowing how well my audience would know it. Performance shortly afterwards at Milton Abbey School. Revival at Hanger Farm, Totton, autumn 2006, for which I used storyteller’s licence in parts of the [less well-written] second half, especially the barometer passage. Love to do it again…

Merlin and King Arthur’s Knights 2002, summer, Nuffield Theatre Bar, Southampton. This was storytelling; I put together The Conception of Arthur and The Sword in the Stone for the first half, and made the second half out of Gawain and the Green Knight and The Passing of Arthur [with Bedivere and the Sword] – can’t recall if I was clever enough to stretch Gawain over the interval, which is what I would do now. Love to do it again… there is a temptation to add in other stories, but I think that would make it unwieldy.

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