Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Remarkable Dramaturgy of Robert Desnos: Clare Muireann Murphy and Daniel Morden @ Village Storytelling

Clare Muireann Murphy and Daniel Morden
perform the Remarkable Tale of Robert Desnos on Wednesday 5th July at 7pm, CCA Glasgow. Produced by Adverse Camber.


What was the inspiration for this performance?

I wanted to share a stage with Clare for an hour at a festival last year. I had seen her work and thought it would be fun to trade stories.
Being a great maker of rods for my own back, I suggested, why don't we tell stories about Fate/luck?
She said,
'There's a true story about a surrealist poet in a concentration camp. Could we use that somehow? I have been wanting to tell it for years.'
I said,
'Yeah, great, let's!'
We made the show by email/skype. When we performed it at the festival, it got a standing ovation.

We did it again, and got another standing ovation.
'Hmmm. Maybe we are onto something here.....'

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas?

*When you hear a story told well it acts like a trojan horse. It sneaks stuff into you without you noticing. It infects you with ideas.
It circumvents the concious mind and goes straight to the heart of you.
*And, in these straitened times, it is cheap! All that's needed is a slient space and a willing audience. I like that low-tech, DIY aspect of it, probably because I am an old punk.
*It is a political act to leave behind netflix and share an experience with others.

How did you become interested in making performance?

When a theatre-in education company transformed my junior school hall into a jungle by saying, ‘We're in a jungle!’

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Clare and I were selfish. We wanted to have fun. We weren't overly worried about the outcome. What was the worst that could happen?. It was going to be a one-off. We figured we'd perform it at the festival, shake hands and go our separate ways. Then a producer picked it up.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

It is a departure. Never worked with Clare before. She's a hoot!. She makes me raise my game. It is a while since I had this much fun onstage.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

The show is about the power of stories to change our reality. We hope this story will change the audience's reality. It has changed ours.

I hope the audience will have a cracking night, and emerge from the theatre with sweaty armpits.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I don't know how to shape an audience's experience. I wish I did!. Our creative process was more instinctive than that. We made a piece we thought we would enjoy if we were watching it. We told stories we were itching to tell, in a way we thought was exciting. It was a glorious surprise when the audience liked it as much as we did!


I was raised in performance, my father was an actor, my mother is a poet.  In 2003 I witnessed someone standing still telling stories, and with only this, they transformed my world.  

Storytelling strikes me as something tangibly good, something that quantifiably makes a difference to people's wellbeing, their thoughts, the way they interact with the world. 
Storytelling, when it is good, goes far beyond entertainment into the realm where we, both audience and performer, wrestle with meaning and our place in the world.

I've been at this 11 years now, and my aim is to keep developing as a performer and an artist for the rest of my life.  
International festivals include Fabula Festival Stockholm, Out of the Box Puppetry Festival Singapore, 10 Days in Dublin, Times Cheltenham Literature Festival UK, National Storytelling Festival Jonesborough Tennessee, Ondas de Contas Lisbon and International Storytelling Festival Toronto.

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