Ancient Rome Refocused

A podcast on Ancient Rome and its influence on modern culture.

RSS 0 1

Don't Sacrifice the Storyteller

Updated 6 months ago.

A new season starts.
Episode 26, Season 5.
"Don't sacrifice the Storyteller."
Imagine you create a theater company. You decide to bring to life an ancient poem called the Battle of the Frogs and Mice. You hold auditions, and you study the ancient storytellers called the Rhapsodoi. Picking out the best storytellers and musicians you travel to the 21st century version of the Dionysia, one of the world's largest art festivals The Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland. Amongst the hubbub of musicians, artists, jugglers, comedians you perform your play in the mayhem of an artistic frenzy.
Episode 26, Season 5 is an adventure story.
This podcast it titled:
"Don't sacrifice the Storyteller.'
1. Andrew, flame haired
2. Hayley, the crowd gatherer
3. Howard, the hairy faced teller of Tales
4. David, bringer of resonance
5. Louise, organizer of fun
The members of Helicon Story Telling Theatrical productions brings to Ancient Rome Refocused a story of taking a parody of the ancient epic poem and bringing it to Edinburgh. This podcast is a serious discussion of the ancient world, and the technical aspects of putting on a play. Through their own words the producers, actors and the musician tell of an adventure. This podcast is a discussion of the arts, music, and the world of theater.
Bonus material is provided with a discussion of Milman Parry, the American scholar of epic poetry, and KLEOS, the ancient concept of eternal fame.
What is this poem.
Once upon a time there was a poem that told about a war between the Frogs and the Mice. Someone in ancient antiquity decided to tell a tall tail (ha, you don't know how long I've been waiting to use that) tale about a war that took place between frogs and mice in the pond.
Batrachomyomachia is how you say it in Greek.
Can you say Batrachomyomachia?
I had to practice.
Who wrote it? Some say Homer. Some accounts say that Alexander the Great even mentioned the poem. Pigres of Halicarnassus? Take your pick.
This poem has been translated through centuries. It has recently regained interest on this side of the new millennia. Don't think Saturday Morning TV. It reads like a Greek Epic, narrated through Homeric passages with plenty of gore.
Animals acting like humans, is a device well-known to any writer. The Battle of the Frogs and Mice was not originally intended as children's entertainment - WHEN FIRST SPOKEN BY THE WANDERING RHAPSODOI, as their audience leaned on the couches or sat cross-legged by the fire. Each listener in those times must have heard a tale or two of the mouse removing the thorn from the lion's paw, or the story of the tortoise and the hare. Imagine hearing these familiar tales for the first time.
This was 'man on the street' philosophy.
This is called ANTHROPOMORPHISM, human psychology at its best – see ourselves through others. Great thoughts, made digestible when presented at a distance by frogs and mice in some land off yonder – even if it’s the pond -in ONCE UPON A TIME. Animals have appeared in prose, poetry and history by writers such as Homer, Aexop, Herodotus, Lucretius, Oppian, Ovid, Diodorus Siculus and Dio Cassius. This plot device is done today in such works as: Watership Down, The Rats of Nimh, and Animal Farm – all are examples of the art.
In "Don't kill the Storyteller" the participants have been paired with epithets to denote characteristics much like the fleet-foot Achilles. They chose their own epithet, which denotes an interesting psychological angle to this show. What would you choose?
In the ancient poem, the army of mice brandish names such as Grain plunderer, Bread eater, licker of meal, Cheese scooper, and Bacon tooth, and on the other side of the battle-line the frogs sport names like Puff Jaw, Mud legs, loud brawler, cabbage eater, water lover, and CROACK-SPITTLE. Of course, many of these name are the result of translation.
Here is the plot of the play. Names and plotline can change with different sources:
The mouse prigcheese stops on the shore of a pond, to slack his thirst. The queen Chubbycheek, the Queen of the frogs offers the tired mouse a ride on its back. Under the law of Hospitality the frog offers the mouse all manner of food and drink, including a ride on her back across the pond. A water snake raise its ugly head and Chubbycheek dives below the waves to escape the creature. Prigcheese drowns. A mouse witnesses the horrifying event, and a war counsel is held. NIbbleloaf the father of the victim, demands revenge, and war is declared against the frogs.
The herald Lickpot is charged with entering enemy territory to declare war on the frogs. Every good old time war starts with a herald declaring the injustices and the justifications for slaughter.
The battle takes place. The telling in graphic detail. The frogs loose, but loose gloriously, and the Gods intercede. The Gods send the crabs and both sides retreat. A war concluded in a day.
Of course its all who is telling the tale. Maybe the mice and frogs join forces and rout the evil snakes from the pond.

If you wish to contact the participants of this podcast see the list below:
Haley Russell, known as 'crowd-gatherer' can be contacted at:
Andrew Hulse, known as 'flame-haired' can be contacted at:
David Denyer, known as 'bringer of resonance' can be contacted at:
Howard Horner, known as 'hairy-face weaver of words' can be contacted at:
Louise Farnall, known as 'organizer of fun' can be contacted at:
or at the professional networking site LINKEDIN.