This Month Featuring: Caravanserai 1
Storytelling is a term that covers so many different expressive media. Even within a single platform such as Second Life, you find diverse performances, people challenging the boundaries of visual art as well as refining more traditional approaches. When we are lucky, several disciplines combine to tell a story greater than the sum of its constituent episodes. That is certainly the case with Carvanserai 1, making its debut this Saturday, June 24th at 7am as part of June's cavalcade of educational workshops and performances known as SL MOOC 2017.
Now don't let the word "educational" spook you. This is definitely entertainment as well as enrichment. All the best entertainment also teaches, generally without your ever noticing. Caravanserai is cleverly conceived to celebrate the natural exchange of culture and the arts that took place along the Silk Road, beginning as early as the second century BCE and continuing for over a millennia. "After trading all day in silks and spices, at night travelers were entertained with stories, poetry, song and dance. They learnt each other's languages and became the conduit for the world great ideas in ancient times - from the mathematical zero to appreciation of a cup of tea or coffee." shared Chris Mooney-Singh, producer of the program.
"This project is an attempt to share the East-West dialogue I have been having for years with my co-organizer Kaylee West, a tertiary lecturer who conceived and runs Chinese Island in Second Life for Monash University. We decided to share our thoughts about East-West culture and created Caravanserai as an occasional artistic and intellectual platform for this," he continues.
Singh narrates the hour long program, featuring his own adaptation of The Elephant and the Six Blind Men, original songs, special musical guest - gypsy violinist Navtali Torok, and James Elroy Flecker's 1913 verse drama The Golden Road to Samarkand. Singh is joined by actors Pip Albatros, Corwyn Allen, and Mavromichali Szondi. There will be a screening of a machinima based on the Edwin Thumboo poem "Ulysses by the Merlion" in which the speaker is Ulysses, the Homeric hero. By strange design or cosmic accident he finds himself in Asia, confronting this strange dragon, or naga-like creature and the Asian sea culture that it represents.
"Culture travels in the saddle bags of history and in the light of new moves toward the New Silk Road today, perhaps our digital metaphor of barter and intellectual exchange can contribute new dialogue among pixel sand dunes and through virtual avatars on camels well into this millennium," Singh further shared, "In the future, this will be even more dynamic and VR goggles will make this experience far more immersive than even it is at present."
Sited in a desert oasis skybox on Monash University's region, Singh notes, " Kaylee and I have been able to a create digital desert way station on the virtual Silk Road like a theatre or film set for an event that includes storytelling, theatre, a machinima screening debut with intellectual discussion, a spoken word offering and a live gypsy violin performance. Executing that in real life can be challenging. In virtual worlds, there are many human resources available to make this a reality without any real budget, except ones time."
Yet, this virtual way station is by no means a permanent feature. They are ready to take their show on the road! "We hope to reprise this first show for new audiences in the future, create new ones, and perhaps develop this occasional platform into a larger festival or Caravanserai Fair, spread over 2-3 days like any other festival in real life. Join us. The camel train is waiting," invited Singh.
In addition to being a part of SL MOOC 2017, Carvanserai 1 is also a benefit for Feed A Smile (Kenya), another of Second Life's great philanthropic success stories. 100 Lindens pays for one child's meal in the German-based Feed a Smile charity's school in Kenya. One third of the school's monthly food budget is raised by virtual events in Second Life.
More information about this program at http://www.thewriterscentre.org/caravanserai-project
At Monash University in Second Life
Saturday, June 24th at 7am slt
GOING ON THIS MONTH:
~ ON THE MOVE: Seanchai Library celebrates the opening of their new Holly Kai site, featuring stories of ships, and the sea.
Sunday, June 25th 1:30 - 3:00pm slt
~ A GLOBAL CREATION STORY: An encore performance, folklorist and theologian, Dubhna Rhiadra has spend years of studying and thinking about the many creation tales from around the world. She shares some of those legendary stories of "in the beginning" live in voice at LEA 18 - EXISTENCE IN THE BALANCE
Saturday, June 24th, 2-3 pm slt
~ NIAMH'S JOURNEY OF DREAMS concludes this month at Mistwood Isle - CK Ballyhoo's latest watercolour creation inspired by Cybele Moon's original adaptation of a Celtic legend. Follow the walk and read the story as you follow in the steps of Niamh as she searches for her scattered dreams.
KNOW OF A COOL SPOKEN WORD OR STORYTELLING VENUE/EVENT? Send me a notecard (Caledonia Skytower) with the basics and a landmark, and I will be happy to check them out as a possible feature.
This Month's Quote: “You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”
― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus
IMAGE CREDITS: Caledonia Skytower