Fabelhaft Festival, Austria June 2011

The wonderful US clown Hilary Chaplain and me, after the show in St Polten














The Fabelhaft! festival in southern Austria has always been one of my favourite festivals, and this year was the best yet. Wonderful company, amazing scenery, great shows – and this year I had the added challenge of telling IN GERMAN! Not completely in German – the stories were bi-lingual, English and German, but it was still an extraordinary challenge for me because I don’t actually speak German.

But I did it – and did it well, by all accounts. People were very complimentary while I was there, so I came home feeling very proud of myself. And I’ve just received an email from an Austrian storytelling friend:

‘Congratulations! Friends and colleagues of mine heard you tell in English and German and were full of admiration: “It was a great performance! And she spoke a beautiful German without any accent!” ‘

There was only one thing that puzzled me… I kept telling a story about a demon – an enormous rat, bigger than a cow, with ‘einem langen rosanen Schwanz’ – a long pink tail. I couldn’t understand why the teens were sniggering. Then I discovered that ‘Schwanz’ is slang for penis…