Clare Murphy brings tales to RSC

Raynor Littleton

Volunteer Writer

Clare Murphy is a dynamic and lively performance storyteller who tells tales all over the world, and on Sept. 6 she visited Rose State to share them.

Immortal Photography

Before Murphy even started telling her tales she introduced herself to mass media professor Susan Dawson O’Brien and her digital photojournalism class. Tori Jones, a student in the class said, “She asked all of our names and was asking what we were taking pictures for and just to make sure we don’t use our flash. And that she wanted to talk to us afterwards.”

When she went and spoke to the photography students afterwards, Jones said, “She was asking if we got any good pictures, and that she wanted to use them to put on her website.” The conversation was also of­ how Murphy was going to use the pictures the photography students took to make her immortal.

The Old and New Stories

Most of Murphy’s stories come from Irish mythology, world folklore and personal stories.

“When I go to do a story-telling, I sometimes don’t know what to tell. The stories tell me which ones want to be told,” said Murphy.

She told three stories, two involving Irish mythology, and the last one being folklore.

The first story involved the Celtic gods, demons, druid magic, violence, and romance. It was a story of the Tuatha de Danann and the Fomorian Balor, and how the prophesy of Balor’s death came to be at the hands of his grandson, Lugh.

The second story explained the meaning to the Irish holiday, May Day and May Eve. May Day is when the veil between the worlds is thin, and people were said to have seen fairies. According to Murphy, on May Eve, to avoid being taken away by the Fae, everyone stays inside and celebrates.

“The Irish will make up anything to party, we’re not good at that much, but we love to party,” said Murphy.

This story was more of a thriller type of story because it involved the Irish Pooka, a hobgoblin who can take many shapes, following a lady, Peggy Barrett, through town, jumping on top of her and staying on her back until she had blessed herself three times. The result of this is that after that Peggy always had a crooked back.

The last story she told was a folktale that involved how the saying “behind every story is a little truth” came to be. The story went that a lady named Truth came into town and was rejected at every door. A stranger named Story then rode into town and everyone fought over who would give him food and he offered to Truth to hide behind him on the horse.

Murphy is a very animated story teller and uses her whole body when telling a story. She uses the crowd’s reactions in how she tells the story, as well as using the crowd in her stories. She changes herself for different characters. When she had to be a manly character she made herself as big as she could with her body and with her voice, and when she had to be an older person, she hunched over and made her voice sound very small.

Catch her in OKC

Murphy was born in Dublin, but now lives in London. She is in Oklahoma City as part of the Arts Council of Oklahoma City’s Storytelling Festival. She will perform Friday, Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. with fellow storytellers and will perform again Saturday Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. at the Festival Plaza at 400 W. California Ave.

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