Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hay Festival Kerala 2011 No.4 - Cat Weatherill tells the tale of the Sien Wife by Italo Calvino

Cat Weatherill combines her fiery female energy with wondrous tales and has a beautiful singing voice


Cat Weatherill is a professional storyteller who came to her art via a stage career. She combined the two practices in a gripping tale by Italo Calvino, called “A Siren Wife.” A vengeful husband in the story casts his wife into the sea, because she was unfaithful to him when he went off to make his fortune to foreign shores. The sirens who live in a magnificent sea-floor kingdom rescue the woman and rename her 'Froth'. The Siren wife never forgets her husband; in an effort to rejoin him she brings doom and destruction upon the sirens.

Weatherill would at points break out into song to reinforce the pitiable state into which Nina, the unfaithful wife was cast:
I can't fight the ocean
I can't fight the sea
For it's ageless, fathomless and free.

 Cat Weatherill tells the story of the Siren Wife by Italo Calvino

The husband would give no thought to his wife, Nina, whom he was leaving behind. She would labour ceaselessly in her garden where the fragrance was like a bower to the god of love. One day, a prince called Orlando came visiting and was taken with her looks, for she was luscious, bright as pearls. Under his touch she opened to him like an oyster. Orlando took her away and she led a life of leisure, and he waited on her every desire, and would not leave her side. She grew tired of endless attention and returned to her house. But when the husband came back he smelt something amiss. The story goes on. You may read more at:

Talitha, Joe, and KumKum watch Cat Wetherill

Weatherill has no qualms about changing the story to suit their own taste. In Liverpool where she comes from there is a tradition of telling stories. Unlike an actor who is enslaved to a script, storytelling is more free. She uses the actor’s skill to convey the action and the feeling in a story. She said she loves Indian stories, but thinks she cannot bring to them the necessary colour they need. Women are living longer and the tales of their middle years need to be told. The next day Weatherill would be telling stories for children. “The most important thing is to enjoy your story,” she said.

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