The Frog Princess Punked – experiments in epic singing
The Frog Princess Punked is radical and challenging storytelling, and yet it explores an ancient from of storytelling – epic singing. This bardic style of storytelling has many diverse forms, but generally combines music and song with narrative. The bardic form once existed in Britain, and is still a living art in many countries. Sometimes the storyteller is also the musician, accompanying themselves with harp, lute or bowed fiddle, moving between narrative, songs, prayers and poems. The zhyrau in Kazakstan, and the Jeli in West Africa are examples of solo storytellers who work in this way. The form can be expanded with a storyteller supported by a band of musicians. Pansoiri from Korea and Pandavani from Northern India are examples of storytellers working with musicians who accompany them. Music can underscore the story or weave around it, songs can emerge from the narrative, the audience can join in with clapping and singing. The songs often slow down the narrative, or pause the action, and give an internal view point of a character’s emotions. This ancient bardic form is the origin of opera.
The Frog Princess Punked is part of my on-going exploration between storytelling, live sound, song, and digital technology. This performance experiments with epic singing forms, combining it with a different genre of music. The focus of the story and the performance is the feminine. Three female performers embody the raw power of girl-punk. We explore ways in which speech, sound, rhythm, create and stimulate images, emotions and meanings. We subvert ideas and prejudices about storytelling and women, by creating loud, grinding, distorted sounds. Angry songs burst from the narrative and comment upon it. The narrative itself is led by liberating female characters, from bolshy Babayaga whose ancient vulva contains the Universe, to the Frog Princess herself who takes off her skin to perform magic. The narrative is set within a shifting collage of images that is v-jayed live during the performance. The images are made from specially created animations and film, archive images and found footage. We have developed a unique visual and aural language which immerses the listener in the narrative world, taking them deeper into the story without distracting from it. Our epic experiment combines the noise and visual world of punk with a narrative about the dangers of annexing the wild and the wisdom of liberating the female. The Frog Princess Punked expands the boundaries of storytelling, and fuses art forms that have not been combined with storytelling before, creating a layered and contemporary narrative that questions and provokes, pushing the boundaries of performance storytelling, challenging and re-defining it.
Saturday 12 Oct 2019, 7.30pm
Omnibus Theatre, 1 Clapham Common North Side, London, SW4 0QW
Tickets £15 / £12
Tuesday 26 November 2019, 7.30pm
Capstone Theatre, Liverpool Hope University,
17 Shaw Street, Liverpool, L6 1HP
Tickets £10 / £8
With support from Wild about Story and Liverpool Storytelling
Saturday 30 Nov, 2019 7.30pm
Kings Place 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG
Tickets £14.50 (pus booking fee)
Presented by The Crick Crack Club
With fabulous support from