Friday, February 17, 2006

The love story concert

I'm just emerging from the fog of telling love stories on Valentine's Day. It was a friendly crowd (how could it not be?), with a mix of familiar and unfamiliar faces in the audience. The hall I rented is a former train depot, and the trains still pass by quite frequently--reports from the listeners were that my sound system was good enough to overcome the rumble and roar.

It was fun to tell this particular mix of stories: a personal piece about some bad blind dates, another based loosely on a former Bulgarian folk dancer I met in 1993, three literary stories (oh, how I love Cynthia Rylant's and Richard Kennedy's writing), the folktales Wali Dad the kindhearted, the French version of Mr. Fox, and The wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell. When I realized that Aucassin and Nicolette would be too long, I replaced it with Rapunzel.

Normally, nobody knows exactly what I plan to tell, but this time I printed up a program. I resist this, because I like the freedom of changing the set list at the last minute, as I look at the audience. I've decided I can let go of that resistance, because having a program gives the listeners another way to remember the stories later. I'll do one for Tristan and Iseult in March, to give some background on the story.

The performance was about an hour and a half. As always, I had plenty of energy while performing. Afterwards, I was tired from having worked so hard on so many new stories at once, and for all the other prep work involved in a self-produced concert. I was thankful that my friends and family folded up the chairs, cleared up the hall and helped load my car. I went straight home and almost immediately to bed.

Here's a strange thing that happens after some performances: as I lie in bed trying to sleep, my head is full of images. You'd think the images would be from the stories, but they are just as likely to be unrelated, little flashes of color and shape, some recognizable and some not. It takes a while for my brain to calm down and let go of all the activity. I slept late the next day.

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