Following performances in Denmark, Wales and at the Royal Opera House, Emily Hennessey brought her vibrant, enchanting story to a Brighton Storyteller’s event at the wonderfully bohemian Project Place in Baker Street. Emily is an outstanding performance storyteller, she does not learn her material off by heart or ‘recite’ a story, but improvises on the bare bones of a host of stories that have been meticulously researched over at least four years. She has travelled to India many times to share stories with Indian performance storytellers, temple goers and many people who have a love of Kali stories. She has also studied Indian dance, and wove in beautiful movements and mudras to her telling.
There are thousands of Kali stories and Emily made insightful, careful choices in cutting the cloth of her myth. The work is complex, as is the goddess herself. Kali is the Hindu Goddess of Death and Destruction, she has many manifestations such as the warrior who defends righteousness; the ultimate feminine godhead; and in a more gentle form, Parvati, devoted wife and mother. The evening began with the profound genesis story of how all beings were churned into existence using a mountain and a lake of milk; I was later intrigued to hear the shocking story of Sati, who sacrificed herself on the funeral pyre. The second half commenced with a wonderfully sensual and humorous story of Siva and Parvati’s amorous embraces being repeatedly thwarted by the demon king who heard a prophecy that he would be killed by the fruit of Parvati’s womb. Impressive work, her Norse myths are also outstanding. If you are interested in hearing more stories, Brighton Storytellers’ details are on Facebook. They host evenings on the last Monday of the month.
The Project Place, Baker Street 25 April 2016