The storytelling festival ”Beyond the border” is the necessity for every storyteller. Can you really call yourself a storyteller if you have not attended the festival as a listener? I would not think so. In the festival you find the whole specter of storytelling, from the very traditional to the more contemporary. You can also find some autobiographical material, but mostly there are traditional stories. I have been visiting the festival as a listenerer, this time I came as a performer. For that reason I did not, unfortunately hear so many other performers. Mostly due to the fact that my english is very broken, I need more time to rehearse my own stuff.
Anyway something I managed to attend, some just pieces and some fully performances.
Friday I listened to Abbi Patrix and Linda Edsjø and their ”pas de deux”. A performance where the music is an active narrative and performative element of the performance. In addition, the two artists worked with author Erica Wagner. The show consists of a series of short stories, where one story is divided into several parts and being told through the whole programme without being a frame story. All the stories deals with the relationship between man and woman and one gets the impression that the show has an autobiographical element. Some of the stories have been given a «modern» context or a different cultural context than they originally have. Both artists are precise in their technique and have a good dialogue with the listeners and there is no doubt that the show has a high artistic quality. Still it did not touch me, I was impressed, but not moved. The performance gives no room for vulnerability, the technical is condensed throughout the show, so the naked word finds no resonance. The ”main” story could have had this quality, but this story is somehow banal and predictable. On the other hand, this is my subjective experience. And the show is definitely worth the experience. The artists are brilliant
Then I heard Daniel Morden, who is regarded as a local star. Daniel Morden always have good stories, at least I like them a lot, he knows the stories he can master with his ”dry” style, has good timing and an unbeatable poker face. Meanwhile, in this performance, one gets the impression that the show is a «selling point». Daniel arrives on the scene with a book in his hand, the stories are thus taken from a book he has written. Of course this is a detail, but let the show stand alone without having to be an attachement to a book! The performance consisted of the good traditional tales, a performance that testify where we really come from.
The next thing I attended at the festival was Kamishibai, one of storytelling styles that goes like wildfire across Europe now. The form is originally from Japan, and it was a Japanese group who performed where several stories were told. Central to this storytelling style are the illustrations and how the storyteller comments and communicates with illustrations. In addition to the illustrator / storyteller the group consisted of a coactor and a musician. The illustrations were stunning and covered a style from the manga to the Gothic, depending on the kind of story that was told. The name of the group/performance was: Spice Arthur – 702
I also saw Michael Harvey’s «experimental» show performed together with Alexandra Grimal (musician) and Marien Tillet Peredur (french storyteller) and developed with the help of Abbi Patrix. The performance was very unfinished. And it angered me. There was little indication that it was a «work in progress». We stood in line in the blazing sun and was told that the show was 20 minutes late, which built up the expectations. I did not understand much of the performance, not the story or style. May be it was because I sat in the wrong place in the audience? Michael Harvey is an accomplished storyteller, so they’ll probably get there.
The last I heard was parts of Nick Hennessey, Timo Vaananen, Kristiina Ilmonen, Anna-Kaisa Liedes Fire in the North Sky: Epic Tales from Finland.
The show opened wonderful and magical, and the singers and musicians were incredibly talented. The same was also Nick Hennessey. I just got the first part due to my own performance. In that part there was a middle section which was a ”bit sleepy”, not because it was boring, but it’s actually the first time I have dipped under a storytelling performance. It was a very still part of the show, both event-related and sonically, then the performance exploded towards the end of the first half with a lot of energy.
I really wish that I had attended more of the festival.