A Fairie Tale @ Lighthouse
In A Fairie Tale, Niall Moorjani seamlessly blends the threads of racial identity, queerness and folklore to create a fantastical and poignant picture of modern Scotland
Folklore is a form all-too-often synonymous with tradition. But stories, and the folk who tell them, never stay still. A Fairie Tale, from the engrossing storyteller and theatre-maker Niall Moorjani, makes this clear.
In their delightfully dark new work, Moorjani seamlessly blends the threads of racial identity, queerness and folklore to create a fantastical and poignant picture of modern Scotland. Framed between the busy bookshelves and fairy lights of Lighthouse, Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop, Moorjani begins their tale accompanied by a richly atmospheric musical score from Sophie Albert and Diana Redgrave.
A Fairie Tale questions what it means to belong, using a medieval fae-inspired world as a guise for the omnipresent feeling of otherness experienced by people of colour in Scotland.
Speaking to The Skinny for our August issue, Moorjani said: “Racism in Scotland is such an interesting thing in how silent it is and how quiet it is. It loves to pretend that its English relations are so much worse, and therefore it has nothing to look at.” A Fairie Tale brings those silent experiences to the fore.
Early in the performance, Moorjani, of mixed South Asian and Scottish heritage, highlights their skin. “Pale in the winter and dark in the summer,” they say, contemplating the fact that their skin is all-too-often the subject of casual comment – whether from well-meaning elderly ladies or those who are not so kind. A Fairie Tale also contemplates the restrictive binaries of gender which still plague our modern world. In one scene the narrator is invited by a fae creature to change into a sage-coloured dress, feeling a novel sense of liberty. “It even has pockets!” the narrator exclaims with delight.
The performance is storytelling at its finest. Beginning at evening twilight, Moorjani’s narration grows darker and darker as the daylight itself is dimmed through the bookshop windows.
A Fairie Tale is one of three offerings from Moorjani at this year’s Fringe along with children’s show The Girl and the Dragon and the part-memoir Mohan: A Partition Story (with added dates due to popular demand).
A Fairie Tale, Lighthouse, run ended