Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ruth’s Truth - May 15 at the 14th Street Y
By Becky Skoff, LABA Manager @ The 14th Street Y

Rise up this morning’

Smiled with the risin’ sun,

Three little birds

Pitch by my doorstep

Singin’ sweet songs

Of melodies pure and true.

Saying’: This is my message to you-ou-ou

Storahtelling Mavens Mollie Andron and Megan Sass incorporated these Bob Marley lyrics into Ruth’s Truth, this month’s Storahtelling program at the 14th Street Y. Only at a Storahtelling show can you incorporate Bob Marley, Debbie Friedman, The Clash, and the Torah into one afternoon. These lyrics also describe the mood in the room that day perfectly—everyone was singing, laughing, and smiling the whole way through. Especially me.

I am the lucky Y staff member who has been privileged to join Storahtelling on their year-long journey developing a new kind of early childhood program, StorahSteps, for our community here at the Y. As the manager of the theater and LABA, The National Laboratory for New Jewish Culture here at the 14th Street Y, it was my job to provide support to the program each month. On this journey, we have had challenges finding the right space set-up, the perfect timing, the best marketing strategy, and of course, the best collection of bagels. We have had packed houses and small houses, but as I watched, I saw the program continue to grow and develop—and the shows themselves get better and better. After the show each month, I go home from a great day of work with a big smile, and usually a song or two stuck in my head.

This show, Ruth’s Truth, was a particularly perfect blend. We had members of our elderly community, elementary students from local schools, and new parents with babies in hand all gathering together in the community room. Mollie and Megan took the plain room and transformed it into a magical setting, where grown-ups could sing, kids could dance and do art projects, and everyone could learn a little together. They focused on an aspect of the story rarely told—the moment where Ruth and Orpah, and all of us in our own time, have to make tough choices. It made me think of all the choices we have made this year, and how each choice led us to where we are today, with an exciting, innovative theatrical program that all ages can appreciate and enjoy.

Sadly, this was my last program with Storahtelling for this year. I will be out of town next month when they finish their season on June 12th with Rock n’ Rod. I am extremely sad to miss it. We have already begun to plan next year, and I can’t wait to find out what songs I’ll be humming come the fall…

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