Monday, October 21, 2019

Theater: Last Chance to See "Iron-Brow and Thorn-Coat" in 2019! (Glastonbury, UK)

Hedgespoken is a traveling storytelling theater-caravan that converts the home of artist pair Rima Staines and Tom Hirons to a performance place. They take their show on the literal road and are about to have their last show of Iron-Brow and Thorn-Coat for 2019. This show has quickly sold out in many locations so if you are local to Glastonbury, go grab your tickets HERE RIGHT NOW! (We dearly wish we could do this!) 
Hedgespoken performances and events have grown to be the stuff of legend, with Rima and Tom (and their sons) living a mythic traveling life, using traditional storytelling with fairy tales, folklore, performance, puppetry and live music.. combining many artforms, all while living sustainably.
Here's the publicity statement for their show Iron-Brow and Thorn-Coat:
When the sea-foam is red at the end of the Earth, only then will you see me again – until then you will wander the earth and all that you touch will turn to iron… 
Once upon a time, there was a forest...

In the forest, strange changes can take place. There may be kings and queens and princesses and witches, and common folk going about their business, not to mention all the animals. A lot is going on. Love can be found, and lost, and found again. There’s talk of the farthest sea, of a desert of fire beyond the forest, but these are probably just rumours... 
Once upon a time, there was a forest...

A curious hedgehog with high hopes and his iron-browed bride journey to the ends of the Earth. Will they find true love and happiness, or witches and dragon-flames? Beyond a limitless ocean, a woman covered in moss begs for forgiveness, while under a crone’s stone doorstep, two toads endure winter for love’s sake. 
**  **  **  ** 
IRON-BROW AND THORN-COAT is our retelling of a classic Lithuanian folk-tale. Steeped in old magic and half-familiar memories, this is a beguiling tale of magical transformation, love, betrayal and endurance, featuring puppets and masks designed by Rima, plus foolery and traditional storytelling, accompanied by exquisite multi-instrumental music and song. 
Suitable for ages 5+ (it's very much not just for kids, though!)
Duration - approx 1hr 15mins
If you're wondering about the fairy tale Hedgespoken are basing their show on, here's a little more information. The title Iron-Brow and Thorn-Coat is wonderfully evocative, and typical of how Hedgespoken can draw the magic out of the simplest phrase. The original title of this Lithuanian fairy tale is The Hedgehog and His Bride. At first it seems to be a funny and straight-forward little fairy tale about a transformed-to-hedgehog curse, but then, right about where you would expect the fairy tale to end (happily), the interesting part begins. Throw in an iron-curse, some East of the Sun West of the Moon, some Tam Lin, some brooms and some toads and you have quite an atypical fairy tale (compared to those popular in Western tradition, at least). 

Here are some teasers from the text, but you can be sure that Hedgespoken, making the character of Iron-Brow the center of the story will take you on an intriguing journey before and well beyond this.

(From Fairy-Tales.parnas in the Lithuanian fairy tales in English, section):
"And before I go I will put a magic spell on you: whatever you touch will turn to iron."
Off he went beyond the far seas, leaving his young wife behind him, and whatever she touched was at once covered with a thick coat of iron. She touched her legs and they turned to iron. She passed her hand forgetfully over her forehead and her forehead turned to iron, too. This was a harsh punishment indeed and (she) suffered cruelly and wept because of it.
Cursing her lot and moving her feet with difficulty, she came to the house of the old broom-maker...
You can read the whole tale HERE but we recommend you not doing so if you're planning on seeing the show, either now or in the future. (If you do, you will have to prove you are not a robot to enter the site.) There are obviously spoilers, and while Hedgespoken will still make anything expected magical, the twists in the story, if you're not familiar with them, are pretty wonderful and we can only imagine how much fun Tom and Rima have had putting together this enchanting show. (Look at those puppets in progress!)

Fairy tale theater ad storytelling is always wonderful to see. It's extra wonderful when it's done extremely well and captures a mythic quality in the process. It's even more special when a lesser-known fairy tale takes center stage and enchants a modern audience. It makes you wonder how this tale got forgotten in the first place. Perhaps by re-naming The Hedgehog and His Bride, the fairy tale of Iron-Brow and Thorn-Coat will have finally completed its journey and transformed from forgotten and obscure, to fresh and magical, along with strains of "I've heard of that one!"

We know that there is much power in a name...

Thank you Hedgespoken for using all your many quality skills to bring back the arts and tales, to help us find roots and grow into a better future.

About Hedgespoken (from their website):

Storyteller, mask-maker and writer Tom Hirons and internationally-respected artist, puppeteer and musician Rima Staines tell tales and spark imaginations from the Hedgespoken truck wherever they can, from busy festivals and family camps to quiet laybys and secluded forests.

Hedgespoken specialise in retelling East European and British folktales and also stories from the wide world of the Traveller and Gypsy communities.
Note: All images in this post are from Hedgespoken's promotional materials.

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