Friday, August 01, 2008

Maven Training Group – Denver/Boulder July 30, 2008


By Amichai Lau-Lavie
Storah On The Road

12,000 soldiers prepare for war. Their elderly leader instructs them to fight for God and make sure that they kill every one of the males across the enemy lines. They go off to battle with trumpets.

This is the text from the Torah – the Book of Ba’Midbar, chapter 31, and for the past week, a group of 10 Colorado rabbis, educators, artists and scholars wrestled with the challenge of translating and adapting this difficult text into an interactive and relevant performance – Storahtelling style.

The group of ten formed the FIRST EVER LCOAL COHORT MAVEN TRAINING, and our intensive training took place on the campus of Denver University, hosted by the university’s Center for Jewish Studies.

The Maven Training is built on our years of experience with Storahtelling shows and training and by now, I’m so pleased to say – I think we got the system down. The training at Brandeis University two weeks ago and now this one demonstrates clearly that the curriculum is strong, our method of training works, and the people who go through this process are profoundly touched, inspired and well equipped to take this unique craft back to their communities – to spread the magic. (see the attached picture to see the team – really diverse!)

Throughout this past week, working in teams of two, the Mavens-in-Making struggled with the translation and dramatization of the text from Ba’Midbar about the war against Midian, one of biblical Israel’s enemies but former allies. Each team received a fictitious assignment to focus their craft - Imagine this difficult biblical tale being told at a children’s hospital, a conservative synagogue, a summer camp, AIPAC conference, or poetry slam night at a nightclub. This morning each of the teams demonstrated their skills and participated in a lengthy debrief and assessment. The overall feedback is VERY POWERFUL.

This is Good news for Storahtelling – and for the Denver Boulder community. We got a good new group of Mavens from the training at Brandeis (already, Joel is doing Maven shows in London, Marge is prepping Maven shows in Vermont and Cleveland, and others are beginning to work with our NY office team on shows for the fall) and now we got a new cohort in Colorado. Next is Jerusalem… Stay tuned.

I’m off tomorrow morning to lead a Storahtelling Shabbaton in Arizona, along with Naomi Less, Brian Gelfand and Glenn Grossman – should be great!

Back in NYC on Sunday… I look forward to catching up with many of you soon.

Tired but proud, Shabbat shalom

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