A beautiful story

I have been quiet since Kilkenny which was a wonderful experience.

Just came across this and wanted to share it. Be warned it will draw a tear.


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Kilkenny Sunshine

In Kilkenny and the festival is going brillantly. Great responses to the various shows and the sun is shining. Managed to get slagged off by the Gombeens at the weekend-it the hair. Plans going really well for my own show also. I’m attaching a photo of the boat to give you an idea of how it looks. Having lots of chats about the piece, stories, truth and memories.

If you can get a chance to get here do. There is so much happening and really great shows.

There will be a short interview posted on the www.kilkennyarts.ie this evening. Also doing an interview in the morning on Beat FM.

The Boat

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The Boat

Sorry I have been quiet but health still recovering and I have been taking it very gently.

Things are progresing well towards friday week. I’m in Kilkenny now. I’ve done two radio interviews talking about the children’s programme for the festival and Whispering Waves. Real buzz about town and it all kicks off at 5pm with The Magic Cube from Italy. This is such a wonderful show and I’m really excited about it opening the festival. It’s full of fun and mischief and just great for the sumer.

The boat is packed up in the car and ready for action. It was designed and built by Guy Barriscale who is just brillant. He designed and built the set for my play ‘The Witchin’ Well’, produced by An Grianán Theatre. He also created the music and puppets. He’s an all round genius!

The design is simple but brillantly put together so that it dismantles easy and fits in one bag. The weight comes in around 30kgs which is key for travelling abroad. It is strong enough for me to sit in and stand on. It’s the perfect anchor for ‘Whispering Waves’. It provides a great visual point and allows me to interact with in a variety of ways.

Initially it was to have a skin but now it won’t as it just looks great. It is a skeleton but it is a boat!

The more I looked at it and worked with it the more it made sense to leave it as it is. When I work with groups to develop storytelling skills I always talk about rememering the skeleton of the story and then adding the layers in the telling. It keeps my telling fresh and always new. There are always new little details.

There is also a debate in relation to illustrated books where some people feel the words alone should paint the pictures and thus no need for pictures. On the other hand people argue that the pictures add to the experience and the story. Now I’m a big fan of illustrated books. Beautiful art work brings a whole new realm to the experience.

In this show I am painting the pictures with my words and the boat is providing an anchor for the image. And the painting adds the layers to the boat so that while there is a visual stimulus the listener still plays the role of the co-creator. The listeners will plum the depths of their own imaginations and provide their own skin for the boat. What a kalidescope of images that will be.


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The Relationship With The Audience

I believe a two-way relationship exists between the teller and the audience. When telling my performances have been influenced and guided by the audience. It is somewhat difficult to articulate this.

It’s a mixture of the mood in the room, the look on people’s faces, the body language and peoples eyes. Thus the need to see my audience and an element t I want to keep. It means that there will be a degree of adaptability in the stories I tell. The focus will be on stories from the sea but which stories I tell will be flexible.

There is also another element to this relationship which I have experienced. Part of this relationship is built on trust.

As teller I invite my audience to come on a journey with my stories. That journey will travel through humour, sadness, poignancy, reflection, adventure, incredulity and much more. Stories can touch on deep emotions, stirring the deep waters of the soul. The trust is that I will take the listener on this journey but we will come out the other end renewed. This all sounds very deep but storytelling is primal and does run deep in the psyche.

Having said that, it is also about enjoyment. But enjoyment does not avoid deep emotions but delivers an all round package that pleases.

The journey continues. Joe

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Welcome to my blog where I intend to chart progress with my new storytelling show ‘Whispering Waves’. Plans are well underway for the piece with the first performance at Kilkenny Arts Festival on Friday 13th August.
I have been telling stories professionally for 10 years now and have a niggling desire to do something different fro awhile now. Over the years I have always been looking at different ways to present and tell stories. There is a myriad of ways to tell stories and the term ‘storytelling’ is one that is applied to many artists. It can frustrate ‘oral’ tellers sometimes as it can be so different from what we do such.

What I am aiming to do is to build on the intimacy and flexibility of my storytelling with theatrical elements that will deepen the experience of the telling for the listener. I want to play with the format without it becoming something completely different.

It is not a play. I will remain the teller of the tales and not become the character/s of the stories in the way an actor does. I am giving the stories a focus in that they will all feature the sea. I’m also adding a visual element beyond that created by the telling. I will have a small boat on the stage and will employ some stage lighting. However I will also have the audience lit. One of the key features of my own telling over the years has been that very immediate contact with my audience, of literally looking them in the eye.

This is my goal. Over the weeks I will expand on my thoughts here and report on progress. I hope you enjoy reading and sharing the expereince. Ultimately I hope you will join me at some stage to hear the stories in real time.

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