Grendel’s Mother is Definitely Not Angelina Jolie in BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE

(a video of “Beowulf’s Theme” played by Odds Bodkin)

In Robert Zemeckis’s animated movie version of Beowulf, Angelina Jolie plays Grendel the monster’s mother. She is gold-skinned and womanly, a tip of the hat to Hollywood’s worship of the female form. Not only that, the she-demon’s voice is soft and seductive as she bewitches the men around her.

None of these scenes appear in the 1,000 A.D. Viking story, originally set down in Old English.

In the version of Beowulf I’ll be telling this coming Sunday on Harvard Square, like the monster Grendel himself, his mother is immense, wolf-like and anything but seductive. In fact, she’s terrifying. Creating a voice for her drags me to an extremity of dramatic expression I seldom visit in my right mind. Grendel the wolf-demon isn’t easy to voice either, roaring and slavering as he does; he has no language and speaks exclusively in aggressive animal tones. I just disappear and let him growl.

Both characters give me the willies, but this brand of storytelling—enacting characters—means I can’t legitimately leave them out of this wondrous old story. The human voices––Beowulf, Hrothgar and others––are much easier to embody.

In the past my storytelling style has been characterized as “over the top.” In the case of this tale, I’m afraid there’s no escaping it.

Beowulf: The Only One, a feature-length imagination entertainment for adults. Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. at Grendel’s Den, Cambridge MA.

An adult performance. Not recommended for children.

Tickets are here.

12-STRING GUITAR VIDEO: Wars Along the Baltic/A Theme from Beowulf

BeowulfWarsAlongTheBaltic

Hi from Odds Bodkin.

Click the green link to watch a video of some 12-string guitar music. This clip is of Wars Along the Baltic, a theme from BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE. At the story’s beginning, I set the scene by describing how the Geats, the Franks, the Swedes and the Wylfings, among other Viking tribes, fought each other constantly over sea routes and standing feuds.

This music is played as I tell the tale.

To hear this music live, and a monster of a story to go with it, join the crowd at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA this coming Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Fun show. An adult evening of imagination entertainment.

Tickets are available here.

“One of the great voices in American storytelling”–Wired Magazine

Let’s say you want to give the gift of story audios from an artist who Wired calls “one of the great voices in American storytelling” and Billboard calls “a modern-day Orpheus.”

We, the dedicated gnomes at Odds Bodkin’s Shop, want you to know about Magic Coins.

Just like the enchanted bag that creates gold, our Magic Coins give you a little extra enchanted buying power.

 

$9.99 becomes $11.00!

$19.99 becomes $23.00!

$49.99 becomes $60.00!

$99.99 becomes $125.00!

 

It’s magic!

And we never forget how much remains in your loved one’s bag of Magic Coins if they haven’t spent them all. So if they download The Odyssey and like it and you’ve bought $49.99 worth of Magic Coins for them, they’ve still got $10 to spend on story collections or Odds Bodkin’s original music!

Just let us know what you’d like us to say. Along with your Magic Coins, we’ll add a personal message from you.

Happy Holidays from the Gnomes at Odds Bodkin’s Shop!

 

 

 

If You Know Any Librarians in New England…

In my storytelling shows for kids, I always end with a “showstopper” story. That’s one with a song I teach them to sing. Simple phrases. Melodies that stick in kids’ minds so well that for days afterwards, teachers tell me, students sing them in the halls. Rhythms, too, and I mean clap-along or even stomp-on-the-floor beats. This is some of my best material for K-5th graders.

 

So if you know any librarians in New England, pass along the word to them that for this summer I’m offering a special show of nothing but showstopper stories. Three of them in a row, something I’ve never offered before. It’s called AN EXTRAVAGANZA OF FAMILY TALES WITH FUNNY SONGS IN EVERY ONE.

 

Since it’s for libraries, I’m making it extra affordable. Anyone can inquire about it at my web site here.

 

WHEN A GUITAR SOUNDS SYMPHONIC

I’ve been playing 12-string guitars to accompany stories for a long time. Nowadays I play a Taylor 12 and a custom-built Ron Ho made in Port Townsend, Washington, both great instruments. This coming Sunday night I’ll be using the Taylor to score The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast, tuned to a modified open E, a unique tuning that allows the guitar to sound, well, symphonic. Or at least that’s the goal.

 

The music is like a second voice, adding drama to the spoken words, much the way a movie score works. Leitmotif is a cool word coined by Richard Wagner denoting themes for characters and emotions, and The Odyssey is filled with many of them. One is a soothing, broad oceanic theme meant to relax my listeners. Another is a haunting, melancholy theme of longing that signifies Odysseus himself, wishing he were home even as he’s facing terrifying dangers. Polyphemus the Cyclops has his own music, too, bursting atonalities played in double-stops on the bass strings. Musicians tend to enjoy the accompaniment as much as the tale itself.

 

The show is at 8 pm on Sunday, April 2 at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA. If you know anyone in New England who might enjoy this performance, please pass it on.

 
Tickets are $20 here.