Centennials come face to face with storyteller!
On Wed 18th November in the Elements dorm’ the TV sulked in the corner. Its usual audience transfixed by a new object of entertainment, one without wires, channels, moving pictures, or a portal to the Internet. It had a body, moving limbs and mesmerising voice – a human storyteller. A human force of entertainment was standing in its place, captivating young Centennials more accustomed to digital entertainment. They were captured by an art, an ancient art, the art of storytelling. This – a cornerstone of our culture – was presented in its purest form by Niall de Burca, perhaps the country’s greatest master of this art.
A human voice making you believe it is speaking to you alone as it draws pictures in your mind’s eye and weaves an enchanting spell. De Burca’s magic is his voice. Its power, a range of registers worked to lull the audience to attention, transporting to the past and to places of legend, crafting characters, creating atmosphere and evoking emotion. De Burca also draws on his body to work the magic of his storytelling, positioning, posing and contorting it into the actions and antics of his characters.
And so Elements were brought to battle with the Vikings in Westmeath and witnessed the killing by drowning of Viking chief Turgesies. They were shown the cruelty of the famine in Wicklow resulting in the horror of madness brought on by hunger and a wife being chased by the skeleton of her husband! Rudiments heard a skull speak to the unhappy priest in a parish of Clare who thought himself best suited to Rome. Estefan the Travelling Man also appeared to them and they accompanied him to a haunted castle as he attempted to gather some wealth for his bravery, a feat failed by previous men who’d all met their deaths in the haunted space.
De Burca transfixed the students, commanding their gaze and attention as screens do on so many devices today. The students/ TV has now regained its position but is unlikely to create as memorable an evening for the students as De Burca’s storytelling did on that night.
Jane O’Loughlin, School Librarian