In order to have a clear understanding of my environment and characters I have thought of locating important extracts I will be responding to.
Even though this might be long, I felt like I needed to get this mind opening description on the blog that will certainly accompany me throughout the project.
The next step will be using these passages as guides to put an animatic together in order to decide on the narrative/story which will show what I need to design.
- "When I first arrived in Marrakech as the BBC's correspondent in Morocco, in 2006, it felt more like 1006; it seemed to be somewhere that had not changed for a thousand years. Even today a strange cast of characters who would not look out of place in Scheherazade's one thousand and One Nights peoples the city. There are rich and poor, merchants and mad men, beggars and thieves, travellers and tarts, hustlers and holy men, dark-eyed beauties and disfigured cripples, and they all swirl around the giant plug hole that is the main square of Marrakech.
- "The Jemaa el Fna has been Marrakech's marketplace, sacred space, cultural crucible, melting pot and meeting point for centuries. Looking down from onr of the multi-tiered cafes, it looks like an intricate Moorish mosaic."
- "All human life is here. By day, you can be heckled by orange juice sellers, pestered by men with Barbary apes on their backs or women trying to squeeze tubes of henna onto your palms. If you escape their clutches and manager to slither past the snake charmers, the herbalists clad in blue Tuareg robes selling medicinal plants and aphrodisiacal powders, fortunes tellers, fire eaters and scribes, you will probably be approached for a photo opportunity by a water carrier in his wide-brimmed hat. The continual sound track to this incessant invasion of the senses is provided by Gnawa musicians dressed in blue, wearing skull caps decorated with tassels and cowrie shells. If nothing else, you have to admire their stamina, as they constantly play reed pipes, bang drums and shake their krakeb, a type of castanet.
The thumping beat can be heard miles."
- "Jemaa el Fna is an open space for street performers. There are musicians, acrobats and actors who play out farces and mini-dramas, but it is not sophisticated theatre."
- "At this point, my love affair with Marrakech began to take a battering. I started to think of the phrase that King Hassan 2 once famously uttered to a British correspondent: 'The more you know of Morocco, the less you understand.' Marrakech can be deeply impenetrable. Just when you think you know it and have deciphered what is going on, it slips through your fingers like sand, and you are left empty-handed, wondering why you came."
- "The exotic sound of the muezzin wrestles for control of the airwaves with manic mopeds."
1 - " On my first visit to the Jemaa el Fna, I was lucky enough to meet Moulay Mohamed El Jabri. A bearded man with just two remaining teeth on his lower gum, he was sitting outside the Cafe de France in a faded grey Djellaba, surrounded by devoted listeners"
- "Born in 1935, Moulay Mohamed had been a storyteller for 45 years. He used to come to the square as a qide-eyed little boy and listen to the old men tell their tales. He was so entranced by them that he became a hlayki himself. In the beginnig, he said, he was so shy that he only told stories at night, with his hood turned down over his head. But a fakir told him that he had no reason to be embarrassed: the man who dances does not hide his beard, the wise man said."
2- " I did, however, meet Abderrahim El Makkouri, nicknamed El Azzaliya, who was still performing to the crowds before sunset. Abderrahim is a tall, imposing man with a distinctive Fes hat, or tarbush, jet-black hair, beady eyes, a short beard and prominent nose. He was born in 1956 and had been telling stories since he was 12. His style of storytelling was more bombastic and theatrical than that of the softly spoken Moulay Mohamed, whose acolytes had to crane their necks to hear him. Abderrahim's
vocal range was such that his stories would start in whispers and end in shouts.
He would have his hands and arms around manically and clap loudly beneath the bemused noses of his listeners when they least expected it. 'When I tell a story and say something like, "the hero draws his sword," people often duck as if the sword is about to swing towards theur heads,' he told me proudly."
"Abderrahim was brought up by his grandmother, as his mother died young. Abderrahim's grandmother infused him with a love of heroes and heroines, monsters and ghouls."
" When Abderrahim considered actually becoming a storyteller, his father's response was unambiguous; he beat him black and blue."
"You must be honest with your listeners, Abderrahim explained when I asked what skills a storyteller needs. ' You also need talent, a good voice and will power. You have to attract people's attention and capture their imagination.'
"Many people, he said, would not specifically set out to listen to a tale, but would get caught up in it once they heard his voice."
3- " I did, however, meet Mohamed Bariz. Mohamed Bariz was also better dressed. With elegant corduroy trousers, a well-polished leather satchel, a pair of intellectual-looking, horn-rimmed spectacles and distinguished wisps of grey hair, Mohamed looked more like an academic then a storyteller."
"Mohamed was born into an extremely poor family, and in the 1970s, he had to leave school and help his father at work. But words were his first love. He recalls hearing his father telling the story of Hdidane and Mdidane or Aicha Rmada. Once he had heard the storytellers in the square, there was no going back. But one day, when the hlayki failed to turn up, Mohamed plucked up the courage and took the old man's place. Looking up, the was delighted to find the crowd growing around him. That was the moment, he said, when he discovered the power of storytelling. But his father was furious. By deciding to become a hlayki, he told his son, he had brought dishonour to his family. As Abderrahim had done, Mohamed turned his back on his family and set off to pursue the life of a vagrant."
4- " Ahmed told me. 'He's the master storyteller'."
" The only problem, Ahmed added, is he is very old, he is going dead and is already blind."
" There must be something about blindness. The greatest storyteller of them all, Homer, was said to be blind. When I started my career at the BBC, my editor told me that radio had the best pictures. Perhaps in the same way, blind people have the best stories. Deprived of vision, they are the most skilled at tapping into the mind's eye of their audience. Some stories, such as the Antariya and Azzaliya are so long that by the time you finish them, the legends say, you will go blind. Perhaps that is what happened to Ahmed Temiicha, one of the most accomplished storytellers in Marrakech."
"Ahmed Temiicha was praying beside his bed: a mattress in a dark room. The walls were bare except for a verse from the Quran which hung at an angle. He had little for company apart from a radio and a clock that ticked in the darkness. He wore a green burnous with a pointed hood. He looked very frail, but when he started telling his tales, his face lit up and his lips grew into a broad smile. Sometimes when he looked at me I thought he could not only see me, but see right through me. When I asked about his life, it sounded like a potted modern history of Morocco itself."
"Ahmed Temiicha was born in Marrakech, in the 1920s. His family who were Berbers from further south, fell on hard times and came to Marrakech to find work. A decade later, he joined street performers in the Jemaa el Fna. He would help the snake charmers and learned to play a drum called a bendir."
" As I listened to his memories and recorded his stories, told in a hypnotic lift, I felt as if I was going into a trance, that by entering that room I had climbed into a time machine. Time and space loosened themselves from their fastenings and ceased to have meaning. The storyteller speaks the others simply listen. It had been an immense privilege to sit and listen to Ahmed Temiicha in that humble room, with its broken black and white tiles and old mattresses. By telling stories, he seemed to keep himself alive, and he enchanted us. In the land of the blind, the storyteller is king.
"When we left his house that afternoon, I blinked in the sunlight, feeling disorientated, as when emerging from a matinee performance at the cinema. We walked down a narrow side street, ascended a ramp and a hole in the wall to find ourselves back in one of the bustling main thoroughfares of the city. It was as if we had emerged from a ghoul's grotto or a cavern of treasures that featured in Ahmed Tamiicha's stories."