Monday, May 16, 2005

A Super Chicken Performance

Had the pleasure of performing at the Ipswich Art Gallery opening on Saturday morning. They had a great children's art exhibition on and had organised quite an array of entertainment and activities to add interest and impact for the kids.

Super Chicken exhibition pamphlet

The theme was 'Super Chicken - a fowl exhibition for children.' Some of Christopher Trotters' wonderful junk sculptures like the 'Red Fan Tailed Rooster' in their promo pamphlet were the most dynamic from my storyteller's point of view.

Of course I had to see what my repertoire could offer in terms of 'chicken' stories and, once I saw the audience, I settled on 'The Little Red Rooster Who Found a Diamond Button.' It turned out highly appropriate in the circumstances as the audience was a fair mix on ages and the story is both dynamic and fun. For the second show I improvised a story with the Christopher Trotter pieces as the characters and the chook house as the setting.

It was fun. I was able to get quite a few kids out the front contributing to the story and introducing each other and basically having a good time.

The performance reminded me of one of the strengths of storytelling and that is the fact that you can easily swap from character to character with a single step or a change of voice or the wave of a hand. It's one reason why I don't perform in costume or mask which can also limit a storyteller's ability to build a good rapport and connection with an audience.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

A Moving Story

Big clean up of the garden shed for Mum today. Dad sure was a collector. He kept so many bits of wood to make and repair things with that the old shed was full.



We found old brass taps, soldering irons, a big ladle that Uncle Alf used for melting down lead to repair gas pipes for the Brisbane Gas company, a Carbide Lamp, bits of chicken wire all neatly rolled up and tied with a piece of string and, right down the back, was the market bag barrow.

It was the sort of solid barrow or trolley that you could wheel a bag of flour or spuds on and, of course, when we were kids, Dad used to wheel us around the back yard for a bit of fun.


Deb Barrow

It reminds me of the story of how he went to the Brisbane markets as a young boy helping his father drive the horse and cart from the shop in Auchenflower to the Roma Street markets. When Grandfather was backing the horse up to load up some vegies a couple of pigeons that had been eating spilt grain on the road flew up in front of the horse. The horse shied and reared up, throwing my Dad onto the road between the hooves of the rearing horse.

The market men in those days were well used to horses. One grabbed a bag and threw it over the horse's eyes to calm it, another grabbed the reins and a third pulled the boy out of the way. Dad lived to grow up with a love for life and for interesting pieces of wood and stones from the Oodnadatta Track and music, lots of music.