Rock n' Rod - Final Storahsteps Show @ the 14th Street Y
Dearest Storahtelling family,
It was my pleasure, for the final time this season, to get that thrilling feeling of friends working together to make something magical happen.
On Saturday, June 12th, we presented the final Storahtelling show of our season here at the 14th Street Y. ‘Rock n’ Rod’ uses the songs of Elvis to help tell one of the stories of Chukat—when the Hebrews demanded water in the desert, and Moses got it for them by hitting a rock with his staff, twice. A joyous, thirst-quenching moment for b’nai Yisrael, and one that Moses lives to regret…
We open on two young Elvis fans: Justin (Wedes) —a great musician but a bit of a whiner; and Shawn (Shafner)—who likes to dance and play air-guitar, but is a bit of a bully. When Mom (Emily Warshaw) catches them fighting, she casts Shawn as Moses, Justin and the audience as b’nai Yisrael, and sets them on their journey through the desert with Gabe (Miner) reading the trusty Torah. Justin and the Israelites’ complaints of thirst get on Moses’ nerves, and he asks God how to find water in the desert. Justin explains to the tune of Jailhouse Rock:
Moses and the Hebrews were a sorry crew
Walking through the desert they were thirsty Jews
God gave them a signal in the form of a rock
And said to Moses, "Baby just talk, talk, talk!"
Let's rock! Everybody let's rock!
Everybody gotta talk, talk, talk...
Everybody talk to that rock!
Moses tries to follow God’s instructions, but as the Hebrews demands get louder, he loses his patience altogether and hits the rock with his staff, twice. Looking back on it, Shawn (as Moses) explains:
Well, my hands were shaky and my knees were weak Couldn’t seem to stand on my own two feet Aaron said I was mad as a bug
Mom helps Shawn understand that it’s important for us to use our words, and they brainstorm, together with the audience some ways to deal with angry feelings: “take a breath!” “take a walk!” or “play the piano!”
For disobeying God’s orders in front of everyone, Moses is punished (Aaron as well), and learns that he will not reach the Promised Land. Outraged at this news, Moses/Shawn—this time—uses his words to express his anger, and to ask b’nai Yisrael for their help and empathy. Mom helps Justin to see that, though we should use our words, sometimes we have to act—like comforting somebody with a hug.
The audience sang and danced, and made their way to the community room, where 14th Street Y educator Laura Chillemi had transformed the space to make it wondrous and magical. After reading a story about a watering hole, and looking into our own, reflective pool, families dyed a white cloth (which had represented the rock during the show) by placing tissue paper over it, and then wetting it with a paint brush so the color would bleed—a multi-colored waterfall.
As one parent said to me, “I know the kids loved it, but I thought it was great, too. The themes spoke to me as a parent as much as they did to my children.” I suppose that’s just the mark of a good story. But for those of you who missed it, the closing succinctly explained:
SHAWN: What we say and do is important! Words can get water, hitting can hurt, and hugs can help.
MOM: So, the next time you want to express how you feel…
JUSTIN: Think before you speak…
SHAWN: And think before you act.
MOM: I think we’ve all learned a valuable lesson today. Now let’s rock out!
I'm very proud of ‘Rock n’ Rod,’ and of all the work Storahtelling presented this inaugural season at the 14th Street Y. Thank you to everyone who has worked with me, cried with me, suffered me, and celebrated alongside me. We’re ending with a bang--well, the sound of a staff hitting a rock, twice.