Instead of a chronological account of the events, I decided I would like to mention some of my favorite parts of the weekend, to give you all a glimpse of what it felt like to be in the middle of such a colorful, busy, inspiring whirlwind of stories. So, if you ever decide to visit Los Silos early in December, here are some of the things you can encounter:
(All pictures come from the Cuentos Los Silos Facebook site. Go and like it.)
Some shows took place late in the morning (11am) and were advertised for a family audience. For that, I presented my Strange Princesses program, filled with Hungarian folktales about brave, clever, and exceptional girls. The show took place in the theater room of the local Health Center (yep), and it was filled with families. After the show, little girls lined up to thank me for the stories and give me a kiss on the cheek. A few times I stumbled over words in the stories; I was delighted to find out that the audience was more than willing to help me find the right one, and smile in approval as the story continued on.
My two adult shows took place in the local high school on the two nights of the weekend. The first one was a new program of legends about Attila the Hun; the second a series of Hungarian folktales that had connections to Spain (and even, in a symbolic way, to the Canary Islands). The house was completely full both times (about 100 people), and to my great surprise I found out later that there was even a Hungarian lady in the audience!
Sadly, I didn't get to go to the big shows of anyone else over the weekend. I would have loved to see all of them, but we either told at the same time, or other things came up on the schedule. Pretty much all of our shows played to a full house, though, and we were overwhelmed by the love and support of the audiences.
Stories from the Balcony
I got to hear two rounds of Balconies, and I was glad I did. A lot of the local tellers did them too. In my round I shared time with Luís and Fabio (who actually did the balcony thing twice; also, he is really good at picking the right story for the right audience); walking around in the evenings I got to hear Mar González and Laura Escuela as well. Since the weather was so warm, it was great fun to sit around on the square, waiting for storytellers to appear in a strange Romeo and Juliet fashion.
Stories on Couches
This one was truly unique and fun. At 5 in the afternoon people gathered in front of the town hall, holding their tickets to a show by one of the five storytellers listed on the program. When we all gathered, volunteers led us in different directions along winding alleys and around corners until we arrived to... someone's home. In the spacious living room, hidden from the noise of the main square and the spotlight of the stages, the chosen storyteller sat in an armchair, waiting of us, accompanied by drinks and cookies. I went to Luís' session; there were ten of us there, including the couple who owned the apartment, and that was really all the living room could fit. What resulted was a very nice, quiet, relaxed hour of stories, where the storyteller talked to us instead of at us, and we all got to sit back and enjoy a quiet hour of storytelling the way it most naturally works. Luís was graceful and funny and eloquent, and even played us a lullaby on his accordion in the end.
I am suddenly a big fan of small-scale storytelling festival events.
Stories in Patios
These kind of worked the same way the Couches did, except this time we took our seats in the small hidden patios of old apartment buildings. The audience consisted of about twenty adults and children. This time I got into Fabio's session, who did not only switch quickly between Inuit myths and colorful children's books, but even told a Fionn Mac Cool story, with which he totally won the festival, at least in my eyes.
(I noticed that Spanish tellers like to tell with picture books, which pretty much defeats everything I have learned about the art of oral storytelling. They do an amazing job bringing the stories to life with their own words, and the books they use I gorgeous. I spent a lot of money on picture books in the festival's bookstore. A lot.)
Ernesto Rodríguez Abad, who brought all of our tales into perspective. The full moon and the stars peered in from the night sky above. At the end of the show a marching band appeared out of nowhere, and we all filed out of the building and onto the square where everything erupted into a spontaneous dance party that lasted long into the night.
Poems and Umbrellas
All in all, the festival was packed with things to do, things to hear, and things to learn. It was extremely busy, and at the same time a whole enchanted weekend full of colors and words. It was one of the best storytelling events I have ever been to, and I am deeply honored to have been asked to be a part of it, and bring my stories from Hungary all the way to Tenerife. I will be re-living and re-telling this experience for a very long time.