When a storyteller is in the room, you can feel it. They have a presence that draws people in, like moths to an open flame.
I felt that the moment I saw Mara. She excelled beyond expectations with her fabulous stories and took us on a journey from Africa to America, to Scotland and back again.
Some of the stories I was vaguely familiar with,like the creator giving years to the animals and the story of Tam Lin. Mara gave them a breath of new life, extra details giving a more rounded presence to every story.
The story about Washu eating meat was the high point of the evening. Audience members acting as the protagonist to laughter throughout, Mara never breaking stride.
During the break I managed to sit and have a few words with Mara one on one. It was a real meeting of minds, self proclaimed amateur to professional storyteller. We shared where we get stories, the differences between telling in Europe Vs Africa. I may have even convinced her to come back again with my glowing praise of Newcastle.
It was an evening that I didn’t want to end, Mara could have told stories for a lot longer and I’m sure all of us would have been willing to listen. Only time will tell whether she returns to A Bit Crack, but I for one am looking forward to it.
Lara Dow May 2022