Last night, deep in St. Paul’s Crypt in Southville, Bristol Storyfest opened up a portal to a distant time – human (hi)story in the furthest reaches of our written word; our oldest recorded tale: Gligamesh.
A sell-out crowd (a small throng of 50 people huddled in the swooping arches of an enchanting, cobbled, catacomb), accompanied by the sleeping spirits above us, were blessed with “a story concert” to remember. But we won’t. Not entirely. And yet the magnetism of the performance will stay with us for a long time to come.
Iwan Kushka and his friends Becky Doe (violin), Will Benzies (guitar) James Watts (flutes), took us on a poetic flight of truly epic proportions. Interwoven with beautiful, original music, our imaginations were ignited through a rare glimpse of two heroes that journeyed together through adventures and heartache; from opponents to brothers.
Gilgamesh & Enkidu wrestle - Illustration by Hassan Nozadian
The memory of mighty King Gilgamesh awoke within us: told and retold through the generations, until he came - clashing, feasting and slaying / baying, betraying and grieving / searching, striving and returning - through the mind’s eye of the eloquent Iwan Kushka. Iwan is a captivating and evocative storyteller, sent forth on the wings of the musical mastery of his travelling friends.
This opening night was a wonderful beginning to what promises to be an exciting festival of stories. If you have not seen a performance storytelling show before – come along. If you miss the fascination and awe of being read to as a child – come along. If you seek adventure or company, solace or celebration – come along. And if you crave inspiration or re-connection with an old friend – please, come along.
Stories belong to us all, and people are remembering the joy and mystery they offer. It is no surprise that as such realisations pollinate our city, festival tickets are selling out fast.
Enkido - the Wild Man and soul brother of Gilgamesh - reminded us in the midst of last night's magical tale:
"Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come."
Come and let the power of stories do their work in you.
Up Next: What is Love? Performed by Nana Woo.
7.30pm Saturday, 1st April, The Wildgoose Space, St. Werburghs.