Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Four Chambers of Dramaturgy: Cat Gerrard and Tim Ralphs @ Village Storytelling

Village Storytelling / Cat Gerrard, Tim Ralphs
VSF16: Four Chambers of the Heart

Thu 24 March 2016
7pm, £10 (£8), Theatre
Ages: 14+ accompanied by an adult

The Village Storytelling Festival
Tue 22 March — Sat 26 March 2016

The heart has its own strange and wonderful ways. Some are well known: the regular beat of your everyday love stories, tales told so often their patterns becomes ingrained in the imagination. But the heart has other rhythms - it sends some down paths that have been kept secret by society, by collectors of stories, by the subjects of these complicated loves. 

Storytellers Cat Gerrard and Tim Ralphs are pilgrims on these hidden pathways to passion and heartache. Listen as these wordsmiths bring you an evening of exquisite lesser-known tales from around the world that will make your heart thump, break, beat and flutter.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
Cat Gerrard and Tim Ralphs both say:
The Four Chambers of the Heart began as a conversation about our sense that traditional storytelling - the telling of myths, legends, folktales - was profoundly heteronormative - and that this lead to an omission in content and themes. We were telling stories that did not reflect the diversity in our audiences or our identities and this left us with a sense of injustice. 

We're often saying that traditional storytelling has to reflect the needs of society today, and The Four Chambers became a project to radically expand the shared repertoire and to put queer themes front and centre in our work.

How did you become interested in making performance?
Cat: As a child I was entranced by theatre and art, from a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream I saw at the age of 7
which made me fall off my seat, crying with laughter, to the puppets and stories in Jim Henson's The Storyteller. I started making performance at school and continued, fitting it around my studies until I decided to put it at the centre of my life. 

I tried to do other things but creating is a vocation and I couldn't really do anything else. More here: 

Tim: As a child, I was taken to lots of folk festivals and fell deeply in love with storytelling as an art-form. I started my first storytelling club in my school library. My interest in performance is born of a love of stories as something shared, created between teller and listener, and a passionate love of traditional material. 

Was your process typical of the way you make performance?
Cat: I don't have a typical process in any piece that I make so this is typical in being atypical! Working with Tim in a first collaboration means we are finding our own way of working together and our own process. 

How I make performance depends so much on who I'm making it with and what it is that we are/ I am making. The few things that always feature for me though are: play and improvisation; construction; reflection; and going into and staying in the unknown for as long as possible.

What do you hope that the audience with experience?
Cat and Tim: We're both fascinated by ritual, and we'll be looking for ways for the audience to participate in the show. Our hope is that our audience will be delighted with these stories, that they'll feel a sense of opening up - both internally and externally- and that they'll touch a sense of wonder.

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