Silence ~

The Adventure of a Medieval Warrior Woman

Silence: The Adventure of a Medieval Warrior Woman is a wickedly funny, plot-twisting tale of greed, lust, deceit, revenge, and the rewards and sacrifices that come from finding your true voice.

Based on a story written in the 13th century, and adapted for 21st-century audiences, Silence tells of a girl raised as a boy to protect her inheritance, since women were not allowed to inherit property in the England of the day. At crucial points in her life, the story's main character -- a kind of 13th-century Annie Oakley -- must choose the weapon with which she'll face the world: a jeweled sword or a sewing needle. Which would you choose?

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In the costume, voice, and spirit of a sassy old crone, storyteller Dolores Hydock serves as the narrator who freely expresses her opinions as she spins the tale.

The story can be told with or without period music provided by the musicians of PanHarmonium -- David Cantrell, Susan Marchant, and Gilbert Ritchie. With recorders, harp, hurdy-gurdy, lute, viols, and psaltery, they add haunting melodies and exuberant songs of the period to this funny, intriguing, and amazingly contemporary story.

"My husband and I just arrived home from the Storytelling Festival in Tennessee. This is the first we have ever attended and cannot tell you how much we enjoyed the experience. But we especially enjoyed, and were drawn into, your performance of Silence! We have tried to explain the story to our 20 year old daughter once we returned home, but we just cannot do it, or you, justice. You are truly a spinner of a magical web when you perform / tell that story. Thank you for that hour of delight!"

--- attendee at the National Storytelling Festival, Jonesborough, TN

"Writer, storyteller and actor Dolores Hydock has taken a 700-year-old story idea and made it into a masterwork of contemporary theatre. In her reliably remarkable style, Hydock tells a painful, poignant, humorous, and hopeful story of a girl raised as a boy for the sake of property rights.

"Not only does Hydock act the part of the crone acting out that girl acting, she acts also as a greedy king; a lusty queen; a pair of hardscrabble, soft-headed minstrels and, conceivable or no, several other characters.

"Talk about theatre of the mind -- Hydock creates a whole countryside using nothing but her voice, a heavy drape, and a walking staff."

--The Birmingham Weekly

For a video excerpt from a live performance of Silence,  click on the arrow on the photos above,  at left, or below.

"I was in Tennessee with my family for the storytelling weekend -- wife, child, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, nephew, and mother-in-law. We were all blown away by your Warrior Woman tale on Saturday. My mother-in-law, who has been coming for twenty plus years, said that story got the most enthusiastic audience reaction she has ever seen there. It was well deserved!" -- attendee at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN

"Stunning ... The show is full of humor but I left tingling with questions about my identity ... Electrically contemporary!"
-- Jay O'Callahan, Master Storyteller and Winter Olympics Bard

"['Silence'] is a great story and a dazzling adaptation, 
told through the eyes of a wickedly funny old woman.
It was an outstanding evening."
-- ArtBurst review

To see a video excerpt from a live performance of Silence, click on the arrow on the picture at right.

Silence has been featured at concerts sponsored by a variety of arts organizations and universities, including:

  • The National Storytelling Festival, Jonesborough, TN
  • The International Congress of Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI
  • The University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
  • New York University French Department, New York, NY
  • The Performing Arts and Lecture Series, Knoxville, TN
  • Storytelling Arts of Indiana
  • Women in Politics Institute, American University, Washington, D.C.
  • DePauw University Performing Arts Series, Greencastle, IN
  • ArtBurst Performing Arts Series, Birmingham, AL
  • The University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS
  • Alexander City Arts Council, Alexander City, AL
  • Cahaba Valley Stages Performing Arts Series, Hoover, AL
  • Covenant Summer Concert Series, Birmingham, AL
  • University of Montevallo, Montevallo, AL
  • University of Alabama in Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
  • Central Alabama YWCA, Birmingham, AL
  • Moonlight Music Cafe, Vestavia Hills, AL
  • Jan Dempsey Performing Arts Center, Auburn, AL

Silence on CD
The CD of Silence received a Resource Award for Story Recordings from Storytelling World Magazine. Click here for information about the Silence CD and Dolores' other award-winning CDs.

Silence on stage
Silence can be performed as a 90-minute show, with one 15-minute intermission, or as a 70-minute performance without intermission. The story can be told with or without period music. The performance requires minimal stage set-up.

The Making of Silence
Click here to read an interview about the making of Silence, written by Mary Colurso of The Birmingham News.

Other medieval story adaptations
Silence is the third collaborative effort of Dolores Hydock and PanHarmonium. They also created Eglamore and Cristobel: A Love Story, a dramatic adaptation of a 14th-century story about the enduring power of love. Click here  for more information about Eglamore and Cristobel. Dolores and PanHarmonium also collaborated on modern-language adaptations of the stories Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Juggler of Notre Dame.

Click here for an article about the development of Eglamore and Cristobel: A Love Story.

Click here for an article about the process of collaboration for Dolores and PanHarmonium.

PanHarmonium was formed in 1987 to recreate the music of ancient times using the instruments and musical styles of the period. Together, David Cantrell, Susan Marchant, and Gilbert Ritchie have performed at Birmingham's City Stages, the Festival of Arts, ArtBurst, the Kentuck Arts Festival in Northport, and other arts events. Their repertoire includes medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music, played on reproductions of the crumhorn, recorder, harp, organistrum, and other instruments.

This storyteller's version of The Roman de Silence is based on a translation by Sarah Roche-Mahdi, whose impressive work has made this curiously contemporary story from the 13th century accessible to readers, students, and story-lovers from the 21st. Detailed literary and linguistic analysis, story background material, and commentary are provided in Roche-Mahdi's Silence (Colleagues Press, Inc., East Lansing, Michigan, 1992).