Using bubble wrap, coins, buckets, and a range of voices, members of the Silkroad Ensemble and Toronto-area music students came together to portray ancient myths and fables for one another.
In a workshop presented by Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum—preceding a performance by the Silkroad Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma the following night in celebration of the Museum’s first anniversary—Ensemble members and 50 middle- and high-school students put down their instruments and explored unfamiliar and revelatory ways of sharing stories, creating moods and setting a scene, and presenting to a room full of strangers.
Stories ranged from ‘The Origin of Silk’ and ‘Sinbad the Sailor’ to ‘Caesar and His Passion for Purple’. Some groups chose to narrate the stories and add sound effects, others used sounds as incidental music to introduce and conclude their stories, and others used no words at all.
In an opening check-in on how everyone was doing, we heard tired, I don’t know, neutral, and nervous. By the end, answers had shifted to enlightened, creative, proud, and snazzy. And yes, still some sleepy and hungry.