Thursday, October 27, 2016

Once more to the graveyard: The Tales of the Golden Corpse 2. (Epic Day 2016/2)

The whole reason I was in San Francisco last week was to participate in the year's second Epic Day performance. As you probably already know, our epic-loving crowd tells a full story twice in one year (usually in February and October). We have done Tales of the Golden Corpse from Tibet once already, and it was time for the repeat performance.

Our group was a little smaller this time - merely 17 tellers, and we got through our stories in a little under 4 hours, not counting the breaks and dinner. While some people had to cancel at the last moment, the lineup was still very much impressive, and all of my favorite stories were still there (Tales of the Golden Corpse is a string of folktales in a frame story, much like the 1001 Nights). We ate delicious snacks and listened to awesome stories for most of the day, sharing our enthusiasm and fascination for Tibetan tales. Once again, the frame story took the cake - everyone had their own version of the loquacious corpse, and the ways it managed to cheat the boy to let him fly back to the graveyard. The moment when the boy accidentally spoke up at the end of each tale, breaking the spell, was always a comedic highlights that everyone appreciated, and executed creatively.
(If you have no idea what I am talking about, read the book. It's worth it.)

Since this was out second performance for the year, it was also the time to vote on what we will be telling in 2017! Cathryn piled several options on the coffee table in the form of books, and people spent the breaks browsing through them, discussing the stories, sharing what they knew about them, and why one or the other would be cool to tell together. The lineup included well-known classics such as Beowulf and the Iliad, epics of great cultural importance such as Journey to the West, Tales of the Heike, and Sunjata, and a few last-minute contestants such as Tales of the Narts (courtesy of our Silk Road House concert the night before). At the end of the day, we all voted on our three favorites, to narrow choices down for the online poll. We ended up with Sunjata, Journey to the West, and Orlando Furioso as our top contestants. They are all very significant stories, and they all have their exciting and alluring qualities. I personally am hoping for Orlando - I have told parts of it before, but I have never read the entire epic, and I would love to.
The poll is still pretty much tied - I can't wait to find out which one we'll be telling in February!

Epic Day tellers, October 22nd, 2016.

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