Pattysaurus and Other Tales

Pattysaurus and Other Tales (audio cassette) told by Diane Edgecomb, Wilderwalks Productions, 1995. ISBN 0-965669¬0-2 48 mins. $10 + $2 stripping.

Pattysaurus is an amusing story of sibling rivalry and selfishness, but it could have been better had Edgecomb been reminded that, often, less is more. What might work in a live performance sometimes cannot be carried off in a tape because the visuals aren't there. In this case, I feel that too much was given to the listener: too many voices, too many sound effects and studio sound tricks. High energy can be great if it has something to contrast with, otherwise it comes across as frenetic. Creating characters vocally is a tricky thing, and people who have a natural ability for doing voices, as Edgecomb does, need to beware of taking the easy road of broad characterization or stereotyping.

It was only on side two that I began to relax into the stories.""The Old Apple Tree" lets us hear Edgecomb's beautiful singing voice. Vocal characterization is more balanced with narration, and the story itself serves well as a nature or environmental tale. "Princess Firefly", too, is a fun little nature tale which gives facts about glowworms and fireflies as it tells the story of a father looking for a suitable mate for his lovely daughter. Diane is known for her melding of storytelling and environmental concerns. Her business card identifies her as a storyteller and nature-lorist. These two tales are only a sampling of her repertoire.

The live audience which heard Edgecomb's telling of the New Age Gawain certainly got a kick out of it, and its response adds to the listener's enjoyment as well. There is some very clever stuff in the tape. It opens with the men's group conference where Arthur's men, having left their Eddie Bauer coats in the cloakroom, are all seated at individual round tables. They have not yet gotten around to deconstructing chivalry when the Green Knight makes his appearance. .As Gawain takes up the Green Knight’s challenge to sever his head, the men all join hands and chant ancient words, and powerful: Go, go, go, go! Hit him again, hit him again, harder, harder!

Part one worked better for me than part two. Again, the pacing and voices kept me from being totally convinced.

This tape is graced by the Celtic harp and wooden flute music of Margot Chamberlain. Additional music and musical direction are supplied by Tom Megan.

Available from:

Order from WilderwaIks, PO Box 422, Hyde Park, MA 02136  (617) 455-1926

The Second Story Review, Vol 1, No. 3, September 1996

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