Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hunter Vally storytelling October 2009

Sometimes a booking inquiry comes along that just really gives you pause for thought.
An email arrived in late September asking if I would be interested in telling stories to the groom and his wedding party on the morning of his wedding, in the Hunter Valley. My immediate question to myself was, "What sort of stories do they want?"
My trusty correspondent replied that they were really interested in the stories I described on my Guild webpage; folktales of other lands, and stories that would be calming and impart wisdom on such an important day. He also informed me that the venue would be a private property, only one of two on a back lane in the Hunter Valley. At this point, my lovely husband offered to drive me and stay in the car while I did the gig.
So, all systems go. The stories were agreed to, as was the fee. I deliberately made it lower than usual, because the whole concept intrigued me, and I wanted to ensure that I got the gig. I was viewing it as a learning experience.
I was so thrilled by the whole gig. What a great bunch of young men (and several girls who I think were either sisters or girlfriends). They told me they wanted something relaxing for the morning of the wedding, and after considering tai chi, decided that storytelling sounded really different and interesting. They were such an engaged audience, and so prepared to take part in the story experience. By the second story, they were happily participating in the tale of Anansi the spider, by playing musical instruments. Anansi has never sounded so good.
When it started to rain, we moved from our idyllic spot on the pool deck, with its expansive views of paddocks and dams, to the cosy pool room, with comfy chairs and lounges. To get us back into the story realm, I began a rhythmic chant and they all rapidly joined in. The whole room was incredibly quiet as I told the Maori legend of 'Hinemoa and Tutanekai' in honour of the groom and his bride travelling to New Zealand for their honeymoon. The silence at the end of that story was just music to my ears, as each listener took their own time in returning to reality.
I lightened the mood for the final story, and each listener did origami folds along with me as I related the story of 'The rainhat.' This is a fantastic story that adapts so easily to fit almost any theme. In this case, I adapted it to be all about the groom, and his efforts to prepare for, and arrive at, his own wedding.
Several of the audience members told me how relaxed they were after the storytelling, and one guy told me he would have been happy to sit and listen to more stories for another two hours. When I asked my correspondent if the storytelling was what he had expected when he made the booking, I was shattered when he replied,
"Ah no, nothing like it."
"I'm so sorry," I stammered.
With a cheeky grin, he said,
It was so much better than anything I could have imagined. Thank you so much for helping to make Brad's wedding day special.

This gig was an absolute blast, and I'm so pleased that I decided to accept the very unusual booking. Several photos were taken of me with the whole group, and I really hope I am sent copies as promised.

No comments: