City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

A trio of theatrical treats for MESP explore myth, war and nature at Storytelling Centre


By Lindsay Corr - Posted on 21 February 2012

The annual Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace brings together people from a wide range of backgrounds to explore spiritual, secular, educational, artistic and cultural approaches to peace and mutual understanding utilising performances that deal with these topics through inventive, cross-art productions.

When Abel met Cain is an intense and gripping performance of myth, wonder tale and real life stories. A powerful portrayal of the Israel/Palestine conflict. This is a turbulent and vivid storytelling journey. In their quest, storyteller and musician join powers to probe into the darker side of the human psyche and find light. The audience is guided through cobblestone paths, paved with memories, love, fears, melodies, battles, tenderness, laughter and tears, that stretch from despair to redemption.

Performer and writer Raphael Rodan explains what inspired him to write the piece, which picked up audience and critical acclaim at last year’s Fringe Festival in Scotland’s capital: 

“With the piling layers of language, nation and beliefs, the questions became clearer and clearer, until I inevitably asked myself, ‘Who are we? What is it within us that allows us to hate and hurt another human being?’ This continuous inner search brought to me images like mirrors from my own life. These images, the situations, my personal memories, the ancient memories, the characters I had in front of me, all started to come alive and weave their way into a new born storytelling piece.”

Theseus and the Minotaur: A Love Story by Lee Gershuny is a new play that bridges the gap between ancient saga and modern media frenzy in a unique exploration of human nature. Set to the fiery rhythms of Flamenco music and dance, both man and beast reveal the very heart of human identity. Modern TV meets ancient myth in an exclusive interview with Theseus, heroic monster killer and King of ancient Athens. For the first time he reveals his secret loves, fears and betrayals as he travels through the Labyrinth. His task is to kill the monstrous Minotaur who waits patiently in the centre of the maze for his human prey, but their encounter is not what either expects…

Lee Gershuny’s trademark poetic voice and subtle symbolic dialogue interweaves with Mayte Beltran’s flamenco dance, Corinne Harris’ delicate direction and Peter Strandberg’s haunting musical score to create stunning, archetypal imagery onstage of the constant struggle between the rational and animal sides of humanity.

The Centre’s trio of delights concludes with the World Premiere of Tyi Wara – a theatrical storytelling production for ages 8+. In a unique fusion of physical storytelling, contemporary dance and live music, Tyi Wara is the latest production in a long line of award-winning shows by Edinburgh’s premier theatre company of African origin, Toto Tales, which features storyteller Mara Menzies who is part of the Storytelling Centre directory of storytellers.

Discover how the Bambara people of Mali learned about environmentalism and the secrets of the land through Tyi Wara, the mythical hero of West Africa who persuaded everyone to get involved in nurturing the earth. Through the compelling use of live traditional African instruments like the kora, drum and balafon, Toto Tales weaves traditional storytelling with African contemporary styles to create an energetic and vibrant theatrical experience that explores the issues of social collaboration and discover some of the funny and sad trials and tribulations along the way, as well as a new respect for mother earth.

Mara Menzies explains the inspiration to cater to an adult audience and the importance of the piece for sustaining cultural links:

 “When I formed the company in 2008, it was important to that it would bring positive black role models, as well as stories and cultures from Africa to inspire the imagination of our children in Scotland. We put on lots of shows for children during which we teased, frightened, involved and laughed with them. But when we saw the delight in the eyes of the accompanying grown ups we decided to cater for their appetite and imagination too.

“This is an important piece because the legend of Tyi Wara inspired sustainable agricultural practices in Africa for 1000s of years. Storytelling in Africa was, and still is, one of the most profound ways to communicate technical knowledge and information in a way that is memorable and informative.”

Box Office: 0131 556 9579 

Listings:

Tue 21 & Wed 22 Feb | 7.30pm (55mins) | £10/£7 | 14+

When Abel met Cain

A powerful portrayal of the Israel/Palestine conflict in a turbulent and vivid storytelling journey. An intense and gripping performance of myth, wonder tale and real life stories. In their quest, storyteller and musician join powers to probe into the darker side of the human psyche and find light. The audience is guided through cobblestone paths, paved with memories, love, fears, melodies, battles, tenderness, laughter and tears that stretch from despair to redemption. Performed by Raphael Rodan and Anastasis Sarakatsanos. "hugely absorbing" (Scotsman), “Inventive and skilful storytelling” (Broadway Baby).

Fri 24 Feb, 7.30pm and Sat 25 Feb, 3pm & 7.30pm (1hr + Q&A) | £10/£7 | Adults (14+)

Theseus and the Minotaur: A Love Story

Breaking News! Modern TV meets ancient myth in an exclusive interview with Theseus, heroic monster killer and King of ancient Athens. For the first time he reveals his secret loves, fears and betrayals as he travels through the Labyrinth. His task is to kill the monstrous Minotaur who waits patiently in the centre of the maze for his human prey, but their encounter is not what either expects. Set to a smouldering backdrop of Flamenco music and dance, both man and beast reveal the very heart of human identity.

Wed 29 Feb | 7pm (1hr) | £6/£4 | Age 8+

Tyi Wara - The Earth Hero

Born in a mythical realm, the hero Tyi Wara descended to the earth. His destiny was to reveal the secret of agriculture to the Bambara people of Mali. In a unique fusion of physical storytelling, contemporary dance and live music featuring the kora, drum and balafon, this exciting new production unites the traditional with the contemporary, exploring issues of social collaboration, the importance of work and respect for the earth.

Lindsay Corr is Marketing Officer at the Scottish Storytelling Centre