Monday 10 October 2016

Review by Alexandros Plasatis of the “Traditional Tales” event with Lindsey Warnes Carroll at De Montfort Hall

Saturday 8th October, 10am-11.15am: with storyteller and performer Lindsey Warnes Carroll; an event most suited to children aged from 3 to 8 years old and their grown-ups, £5 entrance.

Around fifteen kids sat on the floor in front of the storyteller. Some of them were doing acrobatics for some reason. The storyteller switched off the music and whispered her name.

“And now, nice and quiet, let’s all say ‘Good morning,’” she said.

“GOOD MORNING!” the kids screamed.

“And now, let’s say ‘Good morning’ to the person next to you.”

I turned to the lady on my right. “Morning.”

Then the storyteller went on to say what she had for breakfast. I hadn’t eaten anything. On my way to De Montfort Hall I had bought a bunch of bananas from Sainsbury’s but I was too shy to eat them in the waiting area. I kept them in my rucksack.

Expect for the acrobatics, the kids were well-behaved. So the storyteller told us a tale called The Magic Porridge Pot. I’m not from around here and had never heard that story before. It was about a poor poor girl and her mummy who were hungry and had no breakfast, like me, and their tummy was making rumbling sounds, like this: brrrlpbrrlpbrobrabrrrlp. At some point, the poor little girl met an old woman somewhere (I didn’t catch where), and this old woman told the little girl that she had something very special in her bag for her… I thought that the old woman must be a nasty one and wanted to take the little girl home and roast her or something, but, no, inside her bag, the old woman had a beautiful pot.

“And what colour was the pot?” the storyteller asked the kids.

“It was grey, yellow and blue,” said a girl who was doing a handstand.

 “And was it heavy or light?”

“Light,” said a boy with his leg around his neck.

“Ah…yes, it was light as a feather,” said the storyteller, and went on with the tale.

It was a pleasant tale. At the end of the story something went wrong with the magic pot and the village had acquired a new river made from porridge. 

“And what did the villagers do?” asked the storyteller.

“They went scuba diving,” said a boy from under a chair.

Yes they did, but then the little girl remembered to say the magic words, “Stop, please!” and everything was sorted.

The second tale was that of The Gingerbread Man, which was more of an action/adventure story involving lots of animals, and that was followed by a half an hour of craft activities. I didn’t participate in the activities. I just sat on my chair, looking around. The kids were busy cutting and pasting, mums and dads were helping out. Some kids were playing with toys that I had never seen before, like a Black & Decker and a till (the latter should be introduced to the Greek kids). And there, amongst all those toys on the floor, I saw the most amazing thing: a single high-heeled shoe, a real-size stiletto, adorned with diamonds. What was that doing there? I start looking at the mums’ feet, hoping to find the barefooted one. I noticed that most of them were wearing tight jeans, but unfortunately all had shoes on.

The time had come for the last tale. Kids and grown-ups began tidying up, the storyteller started Jack and the Beanstalk and the stiletto with the diamonds was thrown into the bag of toys.

About the reviewer
Alexandros Plasatis is an ethnographer and writes fiction in English, his second language. Some of his stories have been published in Overheard: Stories to Read Aloud, Unthology, Crystal Voices, blÆkk, and Total Cant (forthcoming). He lives in Leicester.

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