Opening on Sunday, January 31st is the latest chapter of Seanchai Library’s distinguished history of bring stories and literature to life in virtual worlds through the spoken word. Running through to May 31st, Crazy Eights is a full region installation located at LEA 9, where the Library will be presenting and hosting a range of special story telling events and readings from the world of literature.
The region has been beautifully landscaped by Caledonia Skytower with the support of Shandon Loring, to present a series of event areas, all distinct from one another but linked together and to the landing point by the Story Forest, where visitors walk between tall trees on a path apparently paved in the covers of books, and can discover more about stories, folk tales and more, as they stop at any of the 20 Story Stations lining the paths through the woods.
The “eight” of the title Crazy Eights, refers to this being Seanchai Library’s eighth year of operation. It was founded in 2008 by Derry McMahon, a Master of Library Sciences in the physical world, after she toured Second Life’s existing libraries and found that while many were inspiring builds, most were empty and seemingly little used.
Derry realised that with all the rich immersive opportunities available in-world, people were unlikely to log-in simply to sit down and read a story or poem or extract from a novel on a note card or from a web page; reading simply doesn’t require a virtual space. It was from this realisation that she established Seanchai Library (“seanchai” – pronounced shawn-a-kee – being is a traditional Irish storyteller/historian): a place where people could come together and read and listen to stories from around the globe and covering all possible genres, giving literature in-world a voice.
Initially, Seanchai Library focused on gatherings which allowed this to happen, establishing a convivial atmosphere in which tales could be shared. But such is the nature of Second Life that it became obvious that more could be done to present literature as a living statement of the arts. Thus, Seanchai gave birth to Storyfests (now folded back into Seanchai’s core activities), which allowed staff and volunteers to organise special literary events, such as their Bard on the Beach and Halloween inspired Boofest series, without detracting from the Library’s core aim of brining stories of every kind to life.
Crazy Eights allows visitors to immerse themselves in both literature and traditional verbal story telling as an art form, and discover more about Seanchai Library itself. The Featured Book Area, for example, will be used to present a book a month through February to the end of May, using a 360-degree setting. The series launches on Thursday, February 4th at 19:00 SLT, when Shandon Loring, Seanchai’s Chief Storyteller, presents On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves in a suitably tropical setting (see the image above).
Crazy Eights also present the opportunity for visitors to attend one of the Library’s most popular series of readings: Tea Time at Baker Street. Here, in a setting inspired set of the ITV Granada (UK) television series The Return of Sherlock Holmes, visitors can enter 221B Baker Street every Sunday and hear of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson. The first story, selected from the series will be The Adventure of the Empty House, the first story in the volume The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes, at 13:30 SLT on Sunday February 7th.
Southward from here lies the Library Island, home to the Information Centre. Here visitors can discover more about weekly events at the Library’s headquarters at Bradley University, and about major productions such as Explore the Great Gatsby. Just a stone’s throw from this is the Storyteller’s Workshop, will hosts the first session on Saturday, February 13th, at 13:00.
Crazy Eights officially opens, however at the East Meadow, an area devoted to stories based on or inspired by art displays mounted in the meadow.
Here, on Sunday, January 31st, at 13:30 SLT, Derry McMahon and Bear Silvershade will present Don Quixote – Words and Images, where guests are invited to sit beneath a windmill and listen to the story of Miguel de Cervantes’s Gentleman of La Mancha. On display around the meadow are pictures by Derry inspired by Don Quixote’s adventures, which are simply superb (and which I had the good fortune to review in 2014, when some formed a part of that year’s Fine Arts Tour).
If you’re already familiar with Seanchai Library’s activities in-world, then you are going to enjoy exploring and spending time at Crazy Eights. If you’ve never attended an event or session by Seanchai Library, then Crazy Eights offers the perfect introduction to a group and their activities in Second Life and virtual worlds, as they keep alive the great tradition of story telling in voice.
SLurl Details and Links
- Seanchai Library’s Crazy Eights (Rated: Moderate)
- Seanchai Library Headquarters, Bradley University (Rated: Moderate)
- Seanchai Library blog