Local Teachers Create Original Book and Puppet Play
Local Teachers Create Original Book and Puppet Play: The Hollyhock Dream
Early childhood teachers from the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School have created an original story book, The Hollyhock Dream, about a girl and her little brother who venture through the forest in search of the flower their mother dreams will make her well. The fairy tale debuted as a puppet play at the school’s Holiday Handcraft Fair in November, and teachers will perform it again for the community at Mason Library in Great Barrington, Saturday, March 15, 2014, at 11:15am.
The Hollyhock Dream was written by teachers Trice Atchison, Beth Oakley and Jo Valens. “We went to a workshop led by author and storyteller Nancy Mellon last spring and, as part of the evening, wove together a story on the spot,” says parent-child teacher Trice Atchison. “We were so inspired by the process, we decided to collaborate on a new fairy tale puppet play.”
Writing a new story allowed the teachers to consider themes such as how there can be more than one right way to a destination—sometimes with the least likely person leading the way; how benevolent help can show up during moments of confusion; and how the natural world is full of wonders, including plants that heal… When they finished the tale, the group decided to publish it as a storybook, with nursery teachers Jo Valens and Beth Oakley together illustrating the book with color pencil drawings. Jo Valens has previously illustrated The Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book, The Waldorf Book of Breads, The Waldorf School Book of Soups and Tell Me a Story, a collection of nursery and kindergarten tales from Waldorf teachers around the world, to which she also contributed several stories. Trice Atchison contributed to and co-edited A Warm and Gentle Welcome, a collection of articles about Waldorf early childhood education.
When it came time to adapt the story as a puppet play, kindergarten teachers Somer Serpe and Michelle Kuzia joined the collaboration, making silk marionette puppets to represent the mother and children, along with a grandfather rod puppet of felted wool that can move with expressive gestures. Teachers brought the story’s animal friends to life, too, and created a puppet stage for the characters’ adventures using silk cloths and simple props. Michelle Kuzia composed two songs to accompany the performance and Veronica Horowitz, nursery assistant, joined in as a puppeteer.
The Hollyhock Dream storybook, was created locally in the spirit of giving to the community, and will be performed as a puppet play Saturday, March 15, 2014, 11am at Mason Library in Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)