Academic journal article Storytelling, Self, Society

Dreaming the Night Field: A Scenario for Storytelling Performance

Academic journal article Storytelling, Self, Society

Dreaming the Night Field: A Scenario for Storytelling Performance

Article excerpt


* Michael Harvey, storyteller

* Stacey Blythe, musician and singer

* Lynne Denman (singer)

A stage with a number of large freestanding branches, some with plastic debris attached standing around and behind the playing area. There is a harp Stage Right with a stool as well as an accordion and two frame drums on stands. Lynne stands Stage Left.

Once about half the audience is in, Stacey and Lynne sing an upbeat version of the Welsh love song "Tra Bo Dau." (This song also concludes the show.)

Mae'r hon a gâr fy nghalon i

Ymhell oddiyma'n byw;

A hiraeth am ei gweled hi

A'm gwnaeth yn llwyd fy lliw.

Cyfoeth nid yw ond oferedd,

Glendid nid yw yn parhau;

Ond cariad pur sydd fel y dur

Yn para tra bo dau.

O'r dewis hardd ddewisais i

Oedd dewis lodes lân;

A chyn bydd 'difar gennyf fi

O rhewi wnaiff y tân.

Mae f'annwyl riain dros y lli,

Gobeithio'i bod hi'n iach!

'Rwy'n caru'r tir lle cerddo hi

Dan wraidd fy nghalon fach.

Lynne starts to sing the first and last verses of the traditional Welsh song "Mae'r Ddaearyn Glasu"

Mae'r ddaear yn glasu a'r coed sydd yn tyfu,

A gwyrddionyw'rgerddi, mae'r llwyni mor llon

A heirddyw'r eginau a'r dail ary dole

A blodau'rperllannau pur llawnion.

Mae'r ddaear fawrffrwythlon a'i thrysoryn ddigon

I borthi'i thrigolion yn dirion bob dydd

Pe byddem ni ddynion mewn cyflwr heddychlon

Yn caru'n un galon a'n gilydd.

The house lights come down from full but stay light enough for the performers to see the audience. Michael and Stacey enter carrying sticks and repeating the following phrases and sometimes joining in the song. The rhythm is unhurried as they build an interlocking arrangement of sticks that stretch across the back and sides of the performance area. As the arrangement is built Stacy and Lynne move downstage and continue singing.

Pale gray lichen spreading across a rock.

Cen llwyd yn ymestyn dros garreg wastad.

Blue and white cracked stones lie at the base of the hill.

Cerrigglas a gwyn yn gorwedd ar waelody bryn.

A soft bed of feathery moss.

Twmp crwn mwsog meddal.

A vein of quartz shining in a rock.

Carreg wedi'i hollti gan grisiai llachar.

Green sharp blades of grass blowing in the wind.

Gwair tamp a hiryn chwifio yn y gwynt.

A hazel branch balancing the weight of the wind.

Cangen collen yn pwyso'r gwynt.

Small pieces of broken glass buried in the earth.

Gwydr siarp wedi claddu yn y ddaear.

Dark, dry, crusty sheep shit-green, slimy, fibrous inside.

Cachu defaid sych a thywyll-gwyrdd a llaith tu fewn.

Tiny yellow flowers; buds waiting all around.

Blodau mân melyn, egin yn aros o'u cwmpas.

[Stacey and Lynne are still singing]

Michael: I'm very sorry but we can't tell the story here. Because the story doesn't happen here, it happens somewhere else. So I'm afraid that you're going to have to leave the theater and get into your cars and we'll all go (here Michael gives directions to the site of Tomen y Mur from wherever the venue is) . . . and you travel up the A470 that cuts right through the middle of Wales, heading north and as you see the signs for Trawsfynydd you need to slow down. But we're not going left into Trawsfynydd itself but past the turning and on until you see a small single track road on the right. We go up there and take the first right. To begin with it feels like a mistake. The track gets narrower and narrower and before long you see grass growing up the middle of the road but just as you are about to give up hope you see a car park on the right-hand side. You pull over and switch off the engine and when you get out, finally, you feel the earth under your feet and the wind in your hair.

In front of you there is a gate so you open it and go through. Soon the path melds into the moorland grass, and after a while your attention is caught by an old ruined farmhouse. …

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