Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Michael Goldlist, Storahtelling Company Member
Jessica Bay Blyweiss, Storahtelling Company Member
StorahSteps Show

The story is familiar: while wandering in the desert G-d tells Moses to talk to the rock to get water for the people of Israel. Moses, instead, hits the rock – and is severally punished. The moral: follow orders precisely… right? But Jessica Bay Blyweiss, Shira Kline and myself, felt there was another lesson to be learned from this parasha. Instead of being a tale between Moses and G-d, familiar players to say the least, why not hear from someone else involved… why not talk to the rock? And so Iggy (short for igneous) was born - a talking, dancing, and guitar playing ‘rock’star, played by myself.

A young Moses, played by Jessica, has far too grand an opinion of himself to deign to speak to a lowly rock. As opposed to sitting down and talking with the rock, Moses, assuming himself to be in control of the every situation (after all, he did unleash all ten plagues, and part the Sea of Reeds) smashes the rock to get the water out. We felt that not only was Moses wrong to resort to violence, but that he also suffered from a larger problem – an inability to listen and respect the world around him born out of an inflated sense of importance. It takes a rock to teach him the lesson that everything in the world is connected and helps everything else out, and that it is always important to listen, sh’mah, to world around you, and not be blinded by egotism.

To frame the show, we had an older and wiser Moses read the story from his book, the Torah, to a stubborn grandson Gersh, our wonderful new orange Storah-puppet. We threw in some fun songs – a rock-medley, and an original number, Moses the Great, in which Moses sums up all the reasons he is wonderful and “shouldn’t have to talk to a rock”.

Moses' Book was performed at the 14th Street Y, the JCC in Manhattan and the Marks JCH of Bensonhurst. The children at all three shows responded with overwhelming enthusiasm. When we taught them to put on “sh’mah ears” (a cupped hand) in order to listen to the world around them, the children never failed to follow suit. A particularly great moment happened near the end of our last show, for the Russian-speaking community at the Marks JCH, when, unbidden, the children started offering up examples of all the people and things in the world that it are important to listen to. All in all, it was a wonderful experience us to perform this fun, high-energy show and bring it to three outstanding communities.

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