Saturday, May 30, 2015

Story Saturday: MythOff takes Budapest!

Wednesday night was Hungary's very first MythOff event!
It was preceded by a lot of excitement, a lot of talking, and a lot of research, which brought our little group of 6 featured storytellers together, and fulfilled one of the main ideas of MythOff: Fostering storytelling relations. Venturing into the world of mythology was familiar to some, and new to others, but everyone put their best work and all their passion into it, and the result was... well, EPIC.

Firts off, we had full house. More than a full house. We were at absolute full capacity in the basement performance space of a very friendly Budapest bar. We had at least 50 people in the audience, probably more. Whew!
We had 3 rounds with 2 storytellers each:

Round 1: The Power of Words
In the Norse corner: Erika Hajós, with the Lay of Hárbardr, told in beautiful verse.
In the Finnish corner: Maja Bumberák, with a piece of the Kalevala about Veinemöinen meeting the giant Vipunen, also told in beautiful verse, and even sung in the end!
Both ladies were eloquent, enchanting, and their prose and verse brought out the very best of not only the original myths, but also their original language and style.
Voting question: "If Odin (Hárbardr) and Veinemöinen had a duel of words, who would win?"
The prize: A pendant with a bee on it, reminiscent of the legend about how the Greek poet Pindar got the gift of sweet spoken words.
The winner: Veinemöinen!

Round 2: Siblings and Deeds
In the Yoruba corner: Szilvia Varga-Fogarasi, telling the story of how the sons of Obatala created the world (and warning against the dangers of consuming too much palm wine).
In the Mongolian corner: Enikő Nagy, with a myth about Gesar rescuing the dying Sun Maiden, before he became a mortal hero.
Both stories touched on the topic of sibling rivalry, and the roles of siblings in family and culture.
Voting question: "Which mythical family would you rather belong to?"
The prize: A pendant depicting Gemini, named "The Patience of Siblings," reminding its wearer to always be patient with everyone, but especially family.
The winner: Everyone wants to belong to the Yoruba pantheon.

Round 3: Deception and Trickery
In the Persian corner: Csenge Zalka telling the Fall of Zahhak (as a "short" prequel to my full-hour show of Zal and Rudabeh).
In the Greek corner: László Gregus, concluding the evening's lineup with the birth and mischief of Hermes, full of wit and humor.
Yuup, we accidentally ended up with a "Greeks vs Persians" theme for the last round. Very historical...
Voting question: "If you lost your winning lottery ticket, and Hermes told you it was on one side of Budapest, and Eblis told you it was on the other, and you only had time to check one place, who would you rather believe?"
The prize: A tiny mirror, named The Mirror of Clear Vision, revealing all deception and trickery (hopefully).
The winner: People would rather believe Hermes than Evil incarnate. I would too.

It was a fun, magical, and all around successful evening. MythOff has arrived to Hungary - and it looks like it is here to stay!


  1. It does sound like it was a great fun. I really hope one day I'll have the possibility to see such a show :-)

  2. Bravo to Csenge, the MythOff lover, for spreading THE Word!