Monday, April 22, 2013

RYS Caravan Makes Way for School

A few years ago, Raise Your Spirits bought a caravan in which to store its costumes and scenery.
The caravan was located in the backyard of the regional council, along with other caravans and containers.
The area was quiet, pastoral, and if you listened, you could hear the crickets chirping.
"We could make a terrific Lag B'omer RYS bonfire here," we thought. "This could be a great club house," we said.
The years have passed. The caravan has deteriorated. The holes have expanded and increased. The mice have had their fun. The bees have found new homes. But we visited regularly to bring or pick up this and that.
Now a new school is being built nearby. Hooray. A school, children will fill this hill!! The RYS caravan is in the way of progress, so we went back to the caravan to try to empty it out. All the caravans were gone, except ours. The land was mostly cleared. A tractor worked on a level just below our caravan. The builders even came up to us and asked, when we'd be finished gathering our things.
We hurried through the sorting - different folks worked all the time, coming and going. Three cheers for Toby Klein Greenwald who spent days and hours in the caravan. She touched the untouchable, and walked in the unwalkable. She shook off poo poo from everything and kept an eye out for our RYS treasures. We salvaged this and that, placing them with our barest finger tips in garbage bags. Then we brought clothing and fabrics to the cleaners to be de-yuchified.
We went through some of the same experiences we had last year:
Toby asked me if I wanted my Achashverosh portrait. Um, no.
Should we take the animal heads that were tattered and torn? Um, no.
Would anyone like to open the mystery drawer? A definite NO.
But there were some costumes that made the cut - an orange salamander, a dozen large fish, our NOAH caterpillar bearing Gush Katif's logo, RUTH's Machlon and Chilion costumes.
And we still had some CDs from previous shows.

We loaded up the cars, and found a few homes for some things, but most of the stuff is in Toby's backyard.
We're looking for storage space. We're really looking for a place that RYS can call home, but we're willing to settle now for storage space.
Thanks to everyone who helped Toby move whatever they moved, and thanks in advance if you've got a place where we can hang our hats, plus our giant feet, our clouds and sunshine, our rainbow, our peacock, our animal prints and more.

Please write back to this blog.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Noah's Ark on the Rocky Mountains everyone knows that Noah's Ark landed atop Mount Ararat in Turkey, but Canada had its own version of Noah's Ark this year.
Three Shows that Have Seen the World
Ten years ago, after Raise Your Spirits completed the mega-successful run of the original "ESTHER and the Secrets in the King's Court", co-authored by Arlene Chertoff, Toby Klein Greenwald and me (Sharon Dobuler Katz) [with music by Rivka Epstein Hattin], we three teamed up again to script the story of NOAH and the rebuilding of a devastated world.
It was a time of continued Arab terror. Destruction was all around, and we thought, "What Biblical figures had suffered horrific losses, and yet learned to rebuild their lives?"
Noah and his family! Noah's story had a message we wanted to share: Despite tragedy and sorrow, with G-d's help, we CAN begin again!
Then, our trio also scripted a third original musical together - "RUTH & NAOMI in the Fields of Bethlehem".
Through our company Bible Arts Productions,, we licensed our three shows to different schools and groups around the world - to be performed both in English and Hebrew.
Every time we licensed one of our musicals to another school or organization, I was thrilled.
Bible Arts productions were on stage in women's leagues in Midwestern America, high schools on the East Coast, summer camps everywhere and even on the streets of far away India.
But I had never seen any of them performed until we traveled more than a month ago to see the Haifa high school version of "ESTHER". []
Children Board the Ark
Well, today I had the incredible treat of seeing "NOAH! Ride the Wave!" performed by a Hebrew Day School in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Lions, tigers and bears and children of all ages!
The colorful costumes and eye-popping scenery were terrific. The leads were top-drawer, and the cast was full of energy and enthusiasm.
I was so happy to see "NOAH!" performed by these sweet children.
However, when the audience began to clap excitedly in rhythm to the Animal March, as our colorfully-costumed two-by-twos entered the ark, I burst put into tears.
I wrote a few weeks ago of how emotional I felt seeing "ESTHER" performed by another company.
The feeling is like seeing your grandchild do something extra-ordinary that instills in you such pride, you are overcome with emotion.
Over the years, our "grandchildren" have taken the stage in Bible Arts productions, just as Raise Your Spirits had in Gush Etzion. But hearing about them and actually SEEING them are two completely different things.
I pray that the messages of hope and faith, bravery and goodness of our Bible Arts productions "ESTHER", "NOAH!" and "RUTH & NAOMI" will continue on. And I invite schools and organizations throughout the world to take the stage in one/all of these shows, and to share with their communities our positive messages that are so sorely needed today.

(Note: The talented Mitch Clyman of MUSO Productions was the composer/arranger of "NOAH!" and "RUTH".)