Sunday, June 19, 2016

New radio & the sagas

On the back of strong demand, Brisbane Powerhouse has extended the Icelandic Sagas show that I'm doing with Richard Fidler to a second night, on 23 July 2016.

This live show builds on a radio series we made last year (broadcast in March 2016). Richard and I travelled to Iceland to tell stories drawn from the medieval sagas in the places where these stories were set. One of the questions that we took with us was how well these narratives might suit the formal qualities of radio and podcast. Another was how we could attempt to communicate a distinct sense of place, that is, one that contributed meaningfully to the impact and understanding of the stories.

I'm still pondering the answers to these questions, but I do think that saga stories are beautifully suited to the highly textural and often very intimate nature of new radio. This style of radio - exemplified by podcasts like Radiolab - combines elements of traditional storytelling and reportage, and is often able to combine quite different narrative styles and voices. And yet in its multi-modal nature new radio may also be able to echo something much older: the layered and polyphonic nature of the sagas as we've inherited them.

In any case, in July, at the wonderful Powerhouse theatre, Richard and I will get the chance to explore whether that approach can be extended to the stage. More details available here.

And a video snippet here:

Brisbane Powerhouse

Thingvellir, July 2015
The Powerhouse Theatre (pic: