Thursday, February 06, 2014

March 20th - "And Tell Laura I Love Her: Stories and Songs of the Early 1960s"

While the June 2014 Iliad is very much on my mind, there is a very different show on the horizon, approaching much faster.  On March 20th, as part of the Ottawa Storytellers' series at the NAC 4th Stage, Gail Anglin and I will join forces with a gutsy rock'n'roll band (Last Band Standing) to present a light-hearted show with stories about being a teenager in that golden age, the first half of the 1960s. 

"Who did put the bop in the bop-shoo-bop-shoo-bop? And why must I be a teenager in love? As the 1960s began, and the first great tidal wave of boomers crashed into adolescence, these and other life-and-death questions were uppermost in their minds and their music."

As in every period, there was plenty of scary stuff going on in the wider world, from the Cuban Missile Crisis to race riots in Mississippi and the assassination of JFK; but for this evening we're steering towards the lighter side, the way most of the pop music of the day did.  Welcome back to a time when boy bands were courteous and clean-cut, when TV was new, and when the real crises were about bad skin, fitting in, and falling in and out of love. It still looked an awful lot like the 1950s, but Rock'nRoll was sneaking up on everybody in broad daylight, clean-shaven, Bryl-creamed, and wearing a suit and tie. 

Monday, February 03, 2014

First workshop for the June 2014 telling of the Iliad

It's been two years since the Ottawa Storytellers brought the Odyssey to the National Arts Centre, and many of the same tellers are back, along with some new daring recruits, grappling now with Homer's other, perhaps greater, epic story.  On June 14th, 2014, from 10:00 in the morning to 10:00 at night (with breaks for meals etc.) the Ottawa Storytellers will be telling Homer's Iliad at the NAC 4th Stage.  A hardy band of storytellers spent this past  weekend working collectively on bringing this seminal story of Western culture to life.  The work has just begun:  parts must be edited, tweaked, learned, refined, practised again and again.  Funds must be raised. This unique storytelling performance must be marketed and publicized -- tickets must be sold, so that we will not be telling to empty chairs.  Most of all, this rich, violent, complex, tragic story must be internalized, felt, understood, transmuted into a collective performance.  But what a wonderful start!  Already we can feel the different books growing together, the many voices weaving into one big tapestry of story.  Already this epic, which seemed at first to be "just" an interminable battle scene, is revealing its depth and winning us over.  I am so happy to be part of this adventure with my fellow storytellers.
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