The following weekend, it was the Bunkfest, billed as music, dance, steam and beer! With storytelling, as last year in the lovely courtyard of the George Hotel and with Tim o'the Oak (from the Forest of Dean), and Tina Blibe (former secretary to the Society of Storytelling). And they were both charming to perform with! The Saturday and we did 2-6pm, taking it in turns, three sets and then a ten to fifteen minute break throughout the day, with a storyteller's corner where we all sat together to watch or to talk and drink companionably in the intervals. We heard some thoughtful tales, some hilarious, and some pretty wacky anecdotes too! And delivered tales and riddles ourselves, which went down well - the audiences we had, as Tim observed, were lovely! And built until folks were standing at the back with nowhere to sit, having come specially. The latter was very kind after a rendition of 'Tippingee' - 'I wish someone had been filming that, it was magic!' We used fabric to drape over the audience at various points, and it seem to work pretty well. Shucks.
Lastly, that night, at the aptly names 'Late Night Club' event held in the sports centre (it doesn't start until 11pm!), we did - after a very long day wandering round the stalls and attractions, watching dark Morris dancers, and missing things as usual as we were either on at the same time or getting ready to go on! - our Carnival of Monsters (a short version for a late night and very drunken audience). After carting in all the monsters earlier and storing them under a large pool table, as directed, we then had to arrive and fish them all out again, plus signs, liaise with the host, and when I found out we were going to be on last! before the open sessions, I promptly went back to the van to go to sleep! asking Deor to wake me twenty minutes before we were on... In a way of course, it's a compliment to be the culmination or finale or whathaveyou of the evening... On the other hand, late nights are not my thing, as I tend to like to get up earlier in the mornings than that time pattern would permit.
However at quarter to one in the morning, I was woken up, and in a terrible temper which I strove - and I venture to say managed - to master, I got up, got into costume, assembled the props, and then waited near the stage, until we were introduced, and I walked on, taking the microphone and announcing 'Welcome to Widsith and Deor Storytelling Theatre's one and only Carnival of Monsters!' or words to that effect. They were a rowdy crowd, of course, some there for the late bar and all mainly for music and dance, but they listened, shouted, and when the Diablo came forward, when I (as Il Vappo the Ringmaster from Old Venice) had summoned up the Devil, the place went silent, just for a few moments, and then booing and hissing as folks recognized 'who it was', and then joining in the banishing incantation at the end... It was a success! Rowdy, noisy, a bar and music environment, wholly unexpected as we were, we caught their attention, engaged their senses, and evoked their responses...afterward there was much praise, folks stopping Deor and requesting to take pictures of him as various monsters, and a lovely comment from the host 'Absolutely wonderful - I've never seen anything like it before.' That's what we like to hear!
In the middle of the night in the alcoholic haze, I wondered (as we took the monsters back to their table to await being picked up at 8.15am on Sunday morning, and went back to the van to change and get some much needed sleep) how many would look back and wonder if it was a dream...it certainly seemed like one to me!
Big thanks to Dave of the Bunkfest for having us again, and to Tim and Tina for being such good comrades in tale telling!