Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dominc Kelly: Crow Stories and More

Got in touch with the North east Storytellers: A Bit crack (http://www.abitcrack.com/ ) and arranged to have lunch with storyteller Chris Bostock. As to be expected talked stories for hour or so before he headed off, I did the tourist thing and arranged to meet later that night at the Star and Shadow Cinema home to their storytelling club. Arrived early to help set up and even given an important job.

“Your Australian, you can pull a beer would you help behind the bar”. It was hectic, learning on the job experience, besides warm beer, really!!!. Had to ask and re-check money, still getting acquainted with it.

Tried to find a definition of crack, other than its drug references and remind you of the work of Diane Wolkstein and her book The Magic Orange tree: HAITIAN FOLKTALES (Check out http://dianewolkstein.com/haiti_files/Grade5%20MOT.pdf )
Storytelling is an important part of Haitian life. The elders in a family or in a community often tell stories that have been passed from one generation to the next. It is very common for Haitian children to learn life lessons and moral instruction through storytelling. As night falls in Haitian homes, one will frequently hear a loud “Crick?” and soon a loud “Crack!” “Crick?” is shouted by an elder ready to tell a story. This is a storyteller’s method of finding out if anyone is interested in hearing a story. Those interested in hearing a story respond eagerly and loudly with “Crack!” This tells the storyteller to begin his or her story.

But the storytelling was amazing. Dominic (http://www.dominickelly.uk.com/ )presented two shows tailored to an adult audience. Donna Sife and I discussed this at the Sydney storytellers get together, “Creating a Show for adults”

He started his first story in a conversational manner, himself, hitch hiking, the Glens and moors and mystical landscape of the UK. Then in a grand hall at a wedding feast a women is asked to entertain the group and bring a bit of life to the gathering. And so Dominc takes us on a journey, one event and set of quests is linked to others and familiar motives and iconic characters are described, a swan that becomes a women, giants, tasks to be done, great loves and passion and betrayal and then, when he’d he kept us in his hand for the whole hour, he wound back to the great hall, the storyteller who has narrated the tale, wins back his true love. Spell binding.

A short break, back behind the bar, then his show “Crow”

Originally commissioned by Cambridge Storytelling Festival and funded by Arts Council England. “Folktale, myth and folklore abound with black-feathered tricksters and shape-shifters. Dominic weaves their stories along a northern borderland between fields and sea, where neither crows nor people are quite what they seem. He tells a poignant framing story of his grandfather his life and death as he intersperses it with three crow stories. ‘Intelligent, ruthless, stark, graceful… crows haunt not only the landscapes around us, but also the human inner world. Dominic weaves their stories along a northern borderland between fields and sea, where neither crows nor people are quite what they seem.
What I loved most was his rich use of language and the imagery he created, his commitment to traditional tales and the weaving together of various themes, myths and legends. Wow!

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