STORYTELLING

I tell stories to anyone who will listenPicture 1209

My stories often have funny bits, but not always. My performances are physical, loose and playful. I come from a background in theatre, clown and comedy, and that flavours my tales.  In two of my three full-length shows the world of stories is woven through the stories of my own life to make something particular and universal.

I work alone, or play with a musician or sing, play and bang things with other storytellers.

I am particularly interested in Eastern European tales, tales from the northern forests, Inuit stories and tricksters. Half-Hungarian, I firmly believe in the usefulness of dumplings if I am called upon to climb glass mountains.

I co-run Story Jam storytelling night in Forest Hill, London. You should come.

If you would like to book me, please drop me a line. I tell stories to all sorts of audiences however far in life they’ve currently reached. In the classroom, I can slip a lesson in with the story for a sneaky bit of  learning while they’re enjoying the tale (I do the odd bit of work for The Latin Programme in London, and have run after schools clubs, as well as working with the fantastic charity, Scene And Heard). I’m happy telling in the open air, and even happier telling inside. I’m delighted with a big audience, and I’m enjoy intimate gatherings too. In short, I love telling stories. Let’s talk.

Here’s a taste of my repertoire:

SHORT STORIES (10 mins):

The Little Rooster and The Diamond Button (repetition for little children (and everyone else))

Lip Thumb Toe (1,2 or 3 tellers) (repetition and rhythm)

Mr and Mrs Hedgehog and the Furrowed Hare (a race)

Puagsuaq and The Greedy Ghouls (a chase)

The Ghosts Behind the Window (Squirrel and Wolf)

Never Mock A Dead Man

Abu Hussein’s Historic Fart (contains farting)

Old Red Face and The Short Curly Hair (contains hair, and clever women)

The Old Lady In The Rose Bush (fairies and senior citizens at undignified angles in their nighties)

Vasalisa and her Very Heavy Handbag (or, if you like, Brush, Comb and Towel)

HODJA NASREDDIN (individually short, but why stop at one?)

Hodja Nasreddin – what would life be without the wisdom-dispensing, logic -defying, serial donkey-owning, nose-thumbing, holy fool, total idiot and wise clown… the one and only Hodja Nasreddin.  Once you start telling these little tales, you just have to keep going. I can tell you a handful on my own, or you can witness the anarchy of the Hodja- Podja – one of my favourite projects.

A mob of storytellers, wearing specially crafted beards, will leap to their feet, sing the Hodja-Podja song, perform the Hodja-Podja dance (remembering he’s a very old man), and swap stories ’til the audience beg for mercy/achieve enlightenment/beg for mercy.

Raven Steals The Light (music)

Maui and Hene

Skeleton Woman

Twelve Ravens

The Walls of Asgaard

The Mead of Poetry

LONGER AGAIN:

VASALISA THE BRAVE (35 mins)

With her mother dead and her father away, Vasalisa finds herself transplanted by her spiney fingered step-mother to a soggy house by the forest. Who will fetch light from the fearsome Baba Yaga? If you fail, you’re dinner. If you succeed you get a bony surprise. The trackless forest is no place to be, unless you have help.

IVAN, THE SNAKE AND THE MIGHTY MACE

Licking through keyholes, feeling across the floor, something is coming for Ivan. Baba Yaga, Witch Winter hunts down her prey, sucking up his brothers, blocking out the sun. Ivan sets out to fight a multi-headed reptile, and regain the light for the world. But one fight leads to another, and his actions unleash The Snake’s Wife and her daughters. A mighty mace will get you so far, but when your enemy is an elemental spirit with a very,very long tongue, you need more than brute force.

(with or without a percussionist and a lot of pickle jars and some sandpaper)

 

JACK AND THE PARADISE BARREL (35 mins)

When all the gold rolls up the hill and something nastier rolls down it, Jack (or Peik as he’s sometimes known) is up and off to the king’s palace. He’s a man with a bag of tricks on a mission to fool the King.  A rough-and-tumble escalating whirlwind of leg pulling, trick playing and outsmarting, as Jack puts the anarchy back in monarchy…  An episodic, split-up-able delight. Just don’t expect it to end well for everyone.

TOOTHBREAKER (three tellers) (50 mins)

What happens after the fairytale wedding? Slander, scandal, missing children and banishment are only the start of it all, in Toothbreaker. Three girls chat as they work and unleash an adventure that will bring the king and his family to the brink of disaster. With magical sat-nav, strange desires in the forest, riddling birds, a tree that sings, and dancing water that can do more than the samba, Lip Thumb & Toe will whirl you away on an epic journey to the mountain peaks, the wet dark city streets, and the sunlit gardens of hearts desire. Expect tea towels, saucepans, drums, strange twangling noises, and three storytellers weaving together three stories full of tension, laughter and the ultimate stuffed cucumber.

FULL LENGTH SHOWS:

THE YEAR OF BEING A SQUIRREL (1hr 15 mins).

A journey through a forest of first grief to confront a witch who may have the key a little girl needs to turn her back into a human. Funny, sad, exciting and hopeful, this show weaves stories of my own childhood with a dozen ravens, a wolf,  at least 2 fearsome witches, skull torches and, of course, a squirrel. Warning: Multiple satisfyingly ghastly deaths! Suitable for adults and other children over 12.

First performed at The Etcetera Theatre, Camden in 2011

MY DAD SUCKED LEMONS WITH BELA BARTOK (1hr 15mins)

What do you tell your children and what do you keep to yourself? A question with a surprising and moving answer, in this fast-paced rampage across Europe. I go off exploring Jack, Raven and other tricksters and change-makers, and finding one closer to home than I expected…

If necessity is the mother of invention, appetite’s the father of mischief. Meet my dad and other survivors. Hold onto your hats for The Paradise Barrel, an Unrepeatable Cocktail, and the Vital Importance of Being a Doctor. Half-remembered, partially-researched, unverifiable Trickster Tales told by a mongrel on a tight deadline.

Music by ingenious contemporary recorder player, Caoimhe de Paor

First performed at The Gatehouse Theatre, Hampstead in 2013

(over 9’s)

BABA YAGA BONY-LEG (1hr 30mins)

Baba Yaga stories are told across vast swathes of land, sometimes a hideous greedy hag to be tricked, sometimes a force of nature to be overcome, sometimes a more equivocal figure, her flesh-and-blood leg wading through our world and her white bone leg treading the world of the dead. Approach her with caution and be sure that you know why you’ve come to herchicken-legged hut in the forest. Three stories of the cannibal, terrible, ravenous, dangerous, necessary ancient figure – as someone comes looking for a needle, for light, for fire, and trades in innocence for something better.

Klezmer music swirls around these Russian tales pulling us deeper into the woods, and dancing us out again in a celebration of life.

Baba Yaga Bony Leg was first performed for The Three Villages Festival, Lewes, in 2014.