A Videopoem by The Olimpias

Ystradgynlais Community Contact Group

sound art: Sam Richards

camera/edit: Richard Rogers

director: Petra Kuppers

funded by a Mind Millennium Award

8 min Beta SP, Digibeta, VHS (c) 2001

You Tube version

Earth Stories, set in the Brecon Beacons National Park

We use the mask of a local myth, The Lady of the Lake, and the language of the Gothic genre to speak about our experiences of mental health issues: depression, mania, panic attacks, voice hearing.

Communal Poetry Fragments:

It is cold down here in the depth of the well. Time goes by, but not for me.

Branches bend, fingers grip. Fear flings me into the hole.

Thousand voices call me, urge me, prick me. Running towards one bright light night.

Walking through the ups and downs of life, Looking for someone, something, Some path to show me a way out of the confusion.

A sound that no-one else could hear

Inside my head, inside my ears.

The Lady of the Lake appears in the garden and flies to the moon and the stars and promises: Good times will return once more.

Using storytelling and creative writing tools, we spent many weeks talking about the landscape of our childhoods, created water and earth stories, told Gothic tales, and found images for what we couldn't name easily. In movement workshops, we took our space in our environment.

The video is for hire and sale to anybody interested in mental health issues and community arts approaches to self-help and empowerment, and can also be found on the Sleeping Giants CD ROM.

Mural at the Bwyty West End Café, a small fish and chip shop in Llandovery:In the midst of beautiful mountain scenery, about 16 miles from here, is the lovely lake of Llyn y fan fach. Here, legend has it that a beautiful woman appeared to a poor shepherd boy who was so taken by her that he asked for her hand in marriage. She agreed, but only on condition that he wouldn't strike her 3 times. However, he found cause to and she returned to the lake with her dowry of animals. Behind her were left 3 sons who became the famous doctors of Wales.

In Earth Stories, we focused not on the story of the battered wife, but on a mythical female presence in our locality.

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