I was excited when I found out the first performance of the Storytelling Arts of Indiana season was about Irish tales. I had traveled to Ireland back in high school, and I was thrilled to re-experience the country’s rich culture.
Clare Murphy’s extraordinary performance, The Mad Myths of the Irish, on September 22, 2012, at the Indiana Historical Society, transported me to another world, where anything is possible. What was truly beautiful was the way Clare shared the stories with more than just her words – with her voice, pauses, sound effects, gestures from head to toe and fingertip to fingertip, I could see the different characters and everything they were experiencing. Whether the characters were going through tense or humorous situations, Clare breathed life into them all with every part of her performance.
What I love about myths and legends is that these stories have been told and heard over and over by millions of people through the generations. I get the same tingling feeling when I visit a historical landmark, like the Statue of Liberty in New York, Coliseum in Rome or Blarney Castle in Ireland. So many people have stepped where I have stepped and seen what I had seen; yet, the moment I absorb a place’s sights, sounds and smells and understand its history is a unique moment. I bring my own life experiences to the moment, and all of this affects how I see life from then on.
Myths and legends, like these historical sites, have touched countless people through time. Yet, this storytelling moment “only happens once in this way,” in the words of Clare Murphy herself. I thank her and the rest of the audience for allowing me to share in this wonderful moment.