Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘Catharinella’

Storytelling Starters ~ What works, what does not

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

P1070774How did it go? Most storytellers, I guess, look back at any event they’ve been involved with, formal or informal, and consider if it lived up to how they’d have liked it to be. For me, that process happened twice yesterday. The morning held a long interview on Skype with a storyteller in Bangalore in India. I’ve never been a great aficionado of Skype but this conversation was really magic. My interviewer’s list of questions was very much to the point and during it, she asked what advice I’d have for a new storyteller. My answer included what long ago became a motto I gave to myself: forgive yourself if you feel your storytelling didn’t go as well as you’d have hoped. There is always a next time and you have to learn from your mistakes.

The afternoon involved the birthday party I spoke briefly about in last week’s blog.  In the event, 14 girls turned up, one or two of them rather quiet, the rest of them very excited. An initial activity involved them thinking up a magic power, a magic food and a magic creature. Then it was over to the storytelling. After a name game to help all  feel included and an introductory story about a frog that happily made them all laugh, we went immediately into that story from Grimms’ Other Tales, the story of Catharinella.  The children settled into it quickly, though I realised from the looks on one or two faces that even at 7 years old, the idea of an ogre that might eat you up can feel a tad alarming. Where necessary, you have to go easy.  Then as we went on, I felt really glad that, in my advance preparations, I’d  become aware of some unresolved features in the story as written. My thoughts about how to resolve them proved very productive and that felt nice.

The story in brief: (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Round and round

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

Grim news from Paris. What is to be done? What can we do? Whatever it is – stop the warring in Syria? –  we agreed this morning that one thing we have to do is make the best we can of our time. So here is the blog I’d prepared for today.

Round and Round:

P1070114Odd how themes that come up in a life can come back, round and round, circling in on themselves. Black people who’ve changed the world by challenging people’s perceptions have been a recent theme in this blog. This week the theme returned several times – and, in one case, in a most unexpected way.

Last week I’d mentioned that, after  retelling here that wonderful story I’d first heard told some years ago by an Aboriginal Australian storyteller – hands, legs and head finally working together –  Meg from Brisbane had written in to let us know that she’d heard this story told by the very woman who created it, Maureen Watson. Evidently, a specific point in Maureen Watson’s mind had been for it to help teach children about the importance of working together. Then during this week came another follow-up message from Meg. She wrote again to say that Maureen Watson had died in 2009 and that information about her life can be seen on the following link: Having now read the link, I can thoroughly agree with Meg: ‘She was an amazing activist and advocate.’

Then on Thursday at the theatre, a world away from Maureen Watson but in spirit very close, I met another emanation of Francis Barber, the Jamaican freed slave I wrote about last week who’d become manservant and companion to Samuel Johnson in 18th century London. We’d gone to the theatre to see Mr Foote’s Other Leg, a play about the real-life actor and impresario, Samuel Foote, who’d lived and worked in London in the same era as Johnson. For me, a main reason for wanting to go to this play was that Simon Russell Beale, one of my most admired actors because of how he makes his parts so real, was playing the part of Foote. Another attraction was that the play was set in Georgian London (why has Georgian London become a theme that’s popping up all over the place in London at present?). (more…)