Night of the Museums, happening every year around Midsummer Night, has become one of the big events for storytelling in Hungary. Year after year I have been performing in different venues for amazing audiences. This year, for the first time since it opened, I had the pleasure of telling stories in Hungary's first and only Story Museum and Workshop.
The storytelling happened in a different venue: The inner courtyard of the historical building next door. It was cool, even on this very hot June day, and the audience could sit on small box-like chairs or bean bags shaped like giant green and red apples. In the back corner there was a crafts table, but they were very polite and quiet through the storytelling, and I had a microphone that helped me be heard over the background murmur. I had a nice audience of maybe thirty people, kids and parents/grandparents alike.
I was invited to tell stories of magical journeys - my favorite kind. Right before my performance, there was a Q&A with a very popular Hungarian children's author who writes adventure stories about pirates, and islands, and dragons. Listening to the Q&A I gleamed a lot of useful information about what my audience was the most excited about; once I was on stage, I used what I learned to pick the best stories, and color them in similar ways.
First, I told The King's Daughter Who Lost Her Hair; one of my favorite stories, and also one that always goes over well with children. Since they talked a lot about magical plants in the Q&A, and it involves a voyage across the sea to a mysterious island inhabited by talking flowers, it fit right into the theme. Next, I told the tale of the Princess of Tomboso, mostly because the green-and-red apple pillows reminded me of it, and also because it does involve a sea voyage and a distant island. This is also one of my ever-favorite tales, one that I also included in my book under Teleportation. I love watching kids roll their eyes every time Jack makes a stupid mistake, and I really enjoy the sassy princess too. Last, but not least, I told Fionn Mac Cool in the Land of the Big Men (also included in my book), where I had kids and parents alike helping me remember all 8 of Fionn's magical helpers...
Despite the fact that all three tales were very long (as journey tales often are), and some of the kids were very young, they followed all three with rapt attention. It was a very nice audience, primed and ready for sea monsters, and giants, and flying witches, and all kinds of adventures. I especially felt lucky that I got to tell some of my favorite tales, and see that the kids liked them just as much as I do. Definitely a win-win.
If you are in Hungary mid-June, don't miss out on the Night of the Museums. It's full of fun things like this.