Its a busy time for Teatro Vivo. While Mother Courage may have finished its run the company are busy preparing for The Hunters Grimm and also its sister piece Grimm’s Collecting Agency. Here, in our latest blog looking behind the scenes, Trina – one of the Characters from Grimm’s Collecting Agency tells us about her show…
My name is Trina Grimm-Volmar and I come from a small town in Germany called Heidelberg. I am a proud descendant of the brothers Grimm and together with my three siblings I have spent the summer visiting Greater London festivals. Our mission has been to gather tales from the public that express the heart and soul of the British people today.
At each festival Heinz, my younger brother, introduces us and informs the audience that we are going to be exercising their imaginations. Heinz is also very imaginative though sometimes he gets a bit carried away. He once spent four days sitting by a boulder convinced it was the leader of the trolls playing hide and seek.
During the next hour or so we annotate the stories the audiences give us with a view to performing them in the latter part of the festival. Sometimes we combine a number of the stories for the retelling, while at other times one story leaps out as needing to be retold.
In Peckham we were fortunate enough to meet Bill born in 1921 who told us of his time in the royal corp of signals during the Second World War. He referred to himself as a d-day dodger and taught us the words to a song which is sung to the tune of Lily Marlene.
“We Landed at Salerno
A holiday with pay
Jerry brought the band out
To cheer us on our way
He brought us cakes and cups of tea
We all got drunk the beer was free
For we’re the d-days dodgers
Out in Italy”.
Looking back over the past few months, the thing I’ve enjoyed the most has been the subtle connections that seems to bind even the most random stories throughout the day. In Crystal Palace stories were about Unhappy Spirits, angry bulls, frightened mice and a sacred lake, and one about keeping the spirit of a person alive even when their ability to communicate is impeded. In Peckham we learnt of the Peckham Panther who had filed down all of his teeth so he wasn’t dangerous, there was also a baby dragon who used a ladder to climb trees and a magical flower that prevented you from getting lost.The final presentation was called Georgia and the Soldier: a story of love, war, sleep, spells and shoe shining. In Millfield we witnessed food fights and heard tales of stray dogs, forgetful woodcutters and envious teachers. And on our last visit to Harrow we heard of birds made of rock, and a lonely mermaid in search of a lullaby to bring her dead fish friends back to life. The Harrow stories were dreamed up by two young children Hugo and Ava who had come to the festival with their mother Hayley.
In Hayley’s house every evening stories are told at dinnertime, the stories are able to evolve over the week, so that a character or plot line introduced on a Monday, re – emerges later on in the week. They Have also invented an imaginary wise guardian called Popotamus Pea who the family can turn to for advice when they are feeling afraid or troubled. This theme of finding solace with fictitious characters was later echoed by Del a cancer survivor. He said the Cartoon Network was an invaluable resource for him when his chemotherapy was getting him down.
I’d like to end my blog by mentioning a passage from a book which I read recently about my Grimm forefathers called “Paths Through The Forest”. I found it inspiring because it suggested that “The individual author consciously or otherwise expresses the collective truth which has been growing and developing in the nation. It is a poetry which belongs to the childhood of the race and therefore children take to it so readily”. We have met many children with fantastical tales but we have also met many adults who are still young enough at heart to join in.
If anyone reading this blog feels excited by the prospect of contributing to our collection of stories then do join us at the Deptford Albany on Sunday October the 5th as part of Fun Palaces and share your stories with us.
For more information visitwww.teatrovivo.co.uk