Huddle Around the Zoom Fire Sunday Night for Beowulf

With 12-string guitar and Celtic harp, character voices and sound effects, master storyteller Odds Bodkin will perform his classic tale, BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE, for adults this Sunday night at 5 pm EST. The tale contains mayhem and violence and is not recommended for children.

Shorn of its heraldic side stories, Bodkin’s version of Beowulf cleaves closely to the original thousand-year-old story of a thane who rescues an aged king from monsters that attack his hall. Filled with striking scenes and plenty of humor, the story translates vividly over Zoom.

 

Tickets are $25

 

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE

ODDS BODKIN

MARCH 28, 2021 AT 5 PM EST ON ZOOM

 

This performance is sponsored by Grendel’s Den.

 

Deep Inside Act II of Beowulf, A Bizarre Scene

He’s already killed Grendel, a towering, sword-proof beast, but now Beowulf has sunk to the bottom of a reeking mere to hunt and kill Grendel’s mother. If Beowulf rids Denmark of these demons, King Hrothgar will declare him his son. In Beowulf’s world, that’s the promise of full half of Hrothgar’s fabulous wealth, enough for Beowulf to become a king himself back home. Hrothgar is the richest man along the Baltic.

Denmark and Sweden/Geatland

 

As he approaches her underwater cave, Grendel’s Mother curses Beowulf. She has dragged her son’s carcass here along with the bloody, hairy arm Beowulf tore off Grendel in the mead hall, which she has stolen back before retreating to her home. She is huge, with fangs and claws, yet she stands like a woman at the water’s edge. With Grendel gone, she is now the last of their kind. Through the ripples she sees soft colored lights beyond the submerged entrance. The man, the killer of her son, has arrived at the mere’s bottom.

Into the water she slides, kicking through the blackness toward what she sees is a helmet with glowing gems on its crown.

Holding his sword out, the man cannot see her. Stealthily, she swims to behind him and violently clamps her fangs onto the helmet, thinking to crush it, along with the soft human skull inside.

Up until this moment, Beowulf has been reliving boyhood memories. How Hrothgar once paid the blood price for Beowulf’s father, and the Wylfings had stopped pursuing him. It had been wonderful to stand on the ship’s deck heading home to Geatland with his father, who was a free man at last. Yes, Beowulf has come here for glory, but also to show gratitude to King Hrothgar of the Danes for that act of mercy so long ago.

Feeling sudden pressure inside the helmet, Beowulf slides out of it and slashes the sword, Hrunting, at the she-beast behind him, but the blade is too slow in the water. With a bubbling scream she shoots back into her cave, ready for the fight.

She is three times his size.

However, Grendel’s Mother does not know that this man is Beowulf, a fearless thane of the Geats who has come from the north, a warrior with the grip of thirty men. He doesn’t know it yet, but after she stabs him in the chest, he will kill her with a weapon crafted by long-dead giants.

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In the actual telling of this scene from BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE, haunting, scintillant music on 12-string guitar builds the creepiness, while Grendel’s Mother hisses loudly to herself, and Beowulf’s voice speaks his inner monologue, “Fate often saves an undoomed man if his courage holds.”

Come see and hear the entire tale via ZOOM on Sunday, Feb. 28th at 5 pm EST.

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE

AN ODDS BODKIN ZOOM STORYTELLING

SUNDAY, FEB. 28, 2021 AT 5 PM EST

TICKETS: $25

 

Hear a sample from the tale:

SPONSORED BY GRENDEL’S DEN.

 

 

 

 

 

On Becoming Two Very Different Monsters

In my storyteller’s version of Beowulf, Grendel doesn’t speak, but his mother does. As descendants of Cain and the last two forest demons of their kind, they represent all that was terrifying to humans in the medieval darkness. Forests were always thick and close back then, and no electricity lit the earth. Let’s hope those times don’t return.

Robert Zemeckis, in his animated 2007 film version of Beowulf, made Grendel a multicolored, hairless giant. Straying even further from the original story, Zemeckis presented Grendel’s Mother as a sexy Angelina Jolie with smooth golden skin, naked most of the time. Both Grendel and his mother spoke words.

For my version, I’ve gone a more traditional route and followed the basic Beowulf text, imagining Grendel as giant wolf on two legs who can roar, and that’s about it. His mother is a female version of this species of ancient forest demon, covered with fur and just as big. She speaks in a terrifying shrill voice. There’s nothing sexy about her.

Tasked as I am to create voice characterizations for my tales, I spent considerable time exploring my lowest, most guttural vocal register for Grendel. What he emotes is roaring fury. Unbridled, explosive fury. He possesses cruel confidence, both in his invulnerability—he has magic, blade-resistant fur—and in his ability to kill, at least until he meets Beowulf in the mead hall. His persona takes a lot of energy to create. I dread to think what I look like when I enact him.

I don’t watch myself do these things. I just work in my trance.

Grendel’s screechy, crafty mother, on the other hand, is signaled by a rapidamente motif on 12-string guitar and her heavy running footfalls. “Killer has a sword,” she thinks in her underwater cave as Beowulf sinks down toward her, “what kind of sword?” If a blade is giant-made, she fears it. Human-made blades cannot cut her. Instead, they vaporize, something Beowulf discovers to his horror when he tries to cut off her head, and it doesn’t work.

Two very different monsters. Two very different voices.

There are plenty of other character voices in Beowulf: The Only One, including Beowulf, Hrothgar the King and various thanes.

 

 

Odds Bodkin

Beowulf: The Only One

An Adult Storytelling on Zoom

Sunday, Feb. 28 at 5 pm EST

Tickets: $25

Of Oaks and Thunder

The Druids of ancient Europe were the “Oak Seers.” Dur means oak. Wythe means seer. Put together you get Durwythe, or Druid. Dur is an old word for oak, from which we derive our word “door,” since in the old days the strongest doors were of oak. They were, pardon the pun, durable. The Norse god Thor’s name has the same etymological root: dur, or oak, that tree most often struck by lightning. What comes with lightning? Thunder. Hence Thor, the God of Thunder.

His name has–sorry, here comes another pun–endured all this time because wonderful stories are told about him. The most intriguing among them, at least by my lights, is Thor’s Journey to Utgard. It’s the tale of how to prove his strength to his enemies, the Frost Giants, he journeys to their capital city and messes up terribly, or at least so it seems. He fails at every task of strength put before him as the giants guffaw. Loki is along for the journey as well, and he fares no better. These are not the characters you see in Marvel movies or those stories. These are genuine old myths.

As the first long tale in my Zoom performance tomorrow night, Sunday Jan. 10, Thor’s Journey is humorous in places, mostly because he and Loki trade barbs and insult one another at every turn. But still, it’s epic, as is the score on 12-string guitar. Here’s a sample:

 

 

I’ll be introducing Viking mythology as I play Celtic harp, and then I’ll launch into the two long tales with an intermission between them. Lots of characters. Lots of music. Lots of fun. Join the crowd. Folks will be tuning in from all over.

This Zoom event is sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA.

 

ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS

ODDS BODKIN, storyteller and musician

SUNDAY, JAN.10, 2021 at 5 PM EST on ZOOM

TICKETS: $25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ODIN’S BEST FRIEND IS MISSING

Odin has no friends, really, other than harmless and trusting Kvasir, who wants nothing that Odin possesses. But now, Kvasir has been missing for months and word has come that in the mountains of Jotunheim a giant is bragging that he owns a magical mead. It’s a drink that bestows power and wisdom with one sip.

The problem is, he is claiming it was brewed from the blood of the god Kvasir.

Which means that somebody killed poor Kvasir for his essence. Odin’s great eye can see anywhere he casts his gaze, but he cannot see everywhere at once. Who has done this? To find out and return his friend’s blood to Asgard, Odin goes on a long quest of disguises, shape-changing and implacable revenge.

The Mead of Poetry is one of two long Norse myths I’ll be performing this coming Sunday evening over Zoom. My 12-string guitar will sport fresh, crisp strings and I will be ready with character voices and narration. I’ll create voices for Odin, Thor, Loki, Bauge the Giant, Utgarde Loke, King of the Frost Giants, Gunlod the Singing Giantess and a host of others.

The show begins at 5 pm Eastern Standard Time on Zoom. Grab your $25 ticket and you’ll receive a meeting link, and then a password the day of the show.

I’ll be full screen for the event with great sound. See you there!

–Odds Bodkin

ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS

Odds Bodkin, Storyteller and Musician

Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021 at 5 pm EST

Tickets: $25

 

This show is sponsored by Grendel’s Den of Cambridge, MA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closer. Sharper. Louder.

Before the pandemic, I regaled audiences in person. Seated behind two microphones, I told them my tales through a sound system so people in the back row could hear. People in the front row? How far away were they? If I were onstage, I’d say about six to ten feet.

But now, for better or worse, I’m closer, sharper, and louder, too, because if my audience wants to turn up the volume, that’s easy to do at home.

Yes, for the time being I’m on Zoom for my adult performances. The camera is a mere two feet away. Hoary and curmudgeonish as I am, it still seems to work. As professor Joseph Walsh put it after a recent Zoom show for college kids:

Indeed, several students who had seen Odds perform in the past – and he has fans who come back every year – considered it even better. They loved the fact that they could see his face up close and watch his fingers dance across his guitar and harp.

Up until March of last year, I told my winter series of adult tales at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA. We had lots of fun doing it, and not wanting to lose that fun completely, Kari Kuelzer, the owner, and I decided to move our shows to Zoom. She’ll be online to introduce me and help me juggle audience questions afterwards.

For next Sunday she chose ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS, which I’ve performed at her club many times. You are invited. Tickets are $25. I hope you join us for some wild and woolly performance art.

ODDS BODKIN

ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS

Sunday, January 10th at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Zoom

Tickets: $25

ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS Zoom Performance on Jan. 10!

Buy your Zoom ticket today and get ready for Odds Bodkin’s Viking myths and lore show coming up on Sunday, Jan. 10 at 5:00 pm EST. Music on Celtic harp and two 12-string guitars adds to Bodkin’s uncanny character voices for giants, dwarfs and gods.

The storyteller is full screen with high-fidelity sound for the performance.

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den.

Tickets $25

Viking Tales and a Myth Makers Workshop in January

Happy New Year!

2021 is around the corner!

Storyteller Odds Bodkin is presenting two Zoom events in January to kick off the New Year. First, on January 10th, ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS, an adult storytelling. Then, on Jan. 24th, MYTH MAKERS, his first adult how-to-tell-stories workshop on Zoom.

Check out the links and sign up!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Not Too Late for Odds Bodkin Story Downloads

It’s Christmas Eve. Is it too late to buy a meaningful gift? No, not if you visit Odds Bodkin’s Shop and grab an All Collections + Bundle: all Bodkin’s audio tales for young children plus 3 long epics for older listeners and adults.

Download endless hours of classic listening in minutes.

Happy Holidays!

 

 

Yes, the Holidays are Here but the Vikings Are Coming in January!

On Sunday Jan. 10, 2020 at 5 pm EST, Storyteller Odds Bodkin returns to Zoom with his beloved adult show, ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS.

Mark your calendar and enjoy two Norse myths presented with giant voices and music on 12-string guitars. Wit and humor combine with mythic adventure in these riveting works of performance art. An evening’s entertainment.

After the show, chat with the artist. He’ll stay online.

“A consummate storyteller”–The New York Times

 Tickets are $25. Grab yours now for a front row seat!

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA.

Can’t Go Out? Going a Little Stir Crazy with Your Kids?

Well, there are always Odds Bodkin stories to free your child’s mind. The first few seconds are usually enough to engage their attention, even children accustomed to a constant flow of visual stimuli like TV or video games. Odds’ stories are for kids 4 and up. There are many age-appropriate categories.

To buy Odds Bodkin’s audio stories as downloads, you don’t have to go out, which is a good thing nowadays. Instead, just visit his online shop, purchase what interests you, and download to your device. The mp3s are ready to play. Nature stories. Fairy tales. Viking myths. Greek mythology. From two-minute tales to spoken-word epics that last for hours. All told with characters, music and a legendary joie de vivre, which we all need around now.

Joie de vivre. That’s French for “the joy of life.”

Find out more here.