Play Me A Story

Play Me a Story invites young audiences to assist in telling favorite folk and fairy tales from around the world through hand made props, costumes and sets, and multi-instrumental compositions that reflect and complement the cultural origin of each story. Our programs may be delivered in both Hebrew and English as well as in our unique bilingual format! After the performance, the children may also engage in an optional art activity related to the story.

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About the Artist

Play Me a Story is an interactive musical storytelling performance program created by Israeli actress-teacher Maya Blank, and musician Uri Sharlin.  Maya holds a Masters in Special Education from Columbia University’s Teachers College, and Uri Sharlin is a professional musician, composer, and recording artist. The Play Me a Story duo was warmly received at many prestigious New York venues including Central Park, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Museum of Jewish Heritage, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 92nd Street Y, Battery Park, and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum to name a few!

Play Me a Story

Play Me a Story

Invites young audiences to assist in telling favorite folk and fairy tales from around the world through hand made props, costumes and sets, and multi-instrumental compositions that reflect and complement the cultural origin of each story. Our programs may be delivered in both Hebrew and English as well as in our unique bilingual format! After the performance, the children may also engage in an optional art activity related to the story. This portion helps the children apply what they have experienced, and touch on their own individual creativity.

The Hatseller and the Monkeys

An African version of the familiar story of a man who sets off to sell his hats, only to have them stolen by a tree full of mischievous monkeys. This fun, very interactive story is a favorite!

*Art Activity: For a Hat/Recycling Theme: The children create hats out of recycled paper bags and decorate with different materials such as feathers, fabric, yarn,  etc. They can then walk around with their own hat.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

In this Americana-style folk story, we follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, as their Kansas house is swept away by a cyclone and they find themselves in a strange land called Oz. Another audience favorite!

*Art Activity: The children create The Emerald City together with different green materials with which they can sculpt or color different city elements that are then mounted on a city skyline prepared in advance out of cardboard.

The Magic Goldfish

Told in a Caribbean style, this story is a classic fable about a man who catches a magic fish. The man releases the fish when it speaks to him and asks him to spare its life. In gratitude, the fish grants him a wish, but the man’s greedy wife
demands more and more…

*Art Activity: The children create fish hand puppets out of craft foam and different decorating material such as sequins, beads, etc.

Heart of Gold Flower

The Heart of Gold Flower

In this immersive and musical storytelling adventure presenting the tale that has become an Israeli classic, a brave little child sets off to find the Heart of Gold Flower – a magical flower that could make beloved Ima well again if she smelled it. Children enter the world of the story through song, movement and theatrical explorations.

Sugar Cane

In this Caribbean retelling of Rapunzel, a magic suitcase holds the props and tropical fruits, and as it is emptied the suitcase turns into a boat, a sugar cane patch and a stone tower in the world of the story.

*Art Activity: The children create colorful shakers using recycled containers, different noise-making materials and colorful decorating materials such as craft jewelry, ribbons, etc.

Stone Soup

Using all elements from the kitchen as the music (pots, pans, ladles, spoons, etc.), the story tells of strangers who trick a starving town into giving them some food and teach them a lesson in cooperation amid scarcity.

*Art Activity: The children create 3-D vegetables that they then hang in pre-made transparent plastic pots so that they imagine that they are making stone soup together.

Jack and the Beanstalk

This Irish tale follows a boy who climbs to the top of a giant beanstalk and uses his quick wits to outsmart the giant cattle rustler.

*Art Activity: The children create giant 3-D food items that they can then play with using a giant plate, bowl, and eating utensils (prepared by Play Me a Story in advance).

Programs Related to Jewish Holidays:High Holidays/Sukkot-

Stone Soup:

Told in a special version for the Jewish Holidays, with all elements from the kitchen (pots, pans, ladles, etc.) as the music, this story tells how a beggar tricks a village into giving him some food and teaches them a lesson in cooperation amid scarcity. This program evokes the feeling of preparing for the holiday as a community. At the end the children are invited to make music with the pots and pans themselves. We include props of traditional holiday foods and original Klezmer-style music and songs.

*Art Activity: The children can create 3-D traditional food items and vegetables mentioned in the story using construction paper, crayons, various seeds, and other interesting materials (For Sukkot the children can hang the finished projects as decoration at the community Sukkah or take them home to decorate their own Sukkah).

Hanukkah-

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins:

Using lighting, dramatic and humorous elements, and Jewish music, this tale relates how Hershel outwits the goblins that haunt the old synagogue and prevent the village people from celebrating Hanukkah. A holiday Favorite!

*Art Activity: The children create faux stained glass of different Hanukkah symbols.

Tu B’Shevat-
The Tree Program:

Two short stories – Under the Shade of the Mulberry Tree: Told with shadow puppets, this story retells an old Chinese folk tale in which a greedy rich man is outwitted by a beggar to whom he sells the shade of his mulberry tree; and a Tu B’Shevat version of The Hatseller and the Monkeys: the familiar story of a man who sets off to sell his hats, only to have them stolen by a tree full of mischievous monkeys. This fun, very interactive story is a favorite!
*Art Activity: The children create Israeli-grown tree costumes out of green chains and templates of fruits, flowers, and leaves.

Passover
The Story of Exodus

Through Middle-Eastern-style music and costumes the story of the Exodus tells how God, through Moses, prevailed upon the hard-hearted Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery by sending 10 terrible plagues to Egypt.
*Art Activity: The children create or color scenes from the Exodus story using materials such as colorful sand, reeds, etc.

Single Performance:  $1070

Pair of Performances: $1785

Three Performances: $2355

Four Performances: $2855

Residencies

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (Grades 3-7)  Residency

Instructors: Maya Blank and Uri Sharlin

This workshop will focus on the story of Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, and will culminate in a theatrical and musical production of the story. In this folktale-inspired story Hershel outwits the goblins that haunt the old synagogue and prevent the village people from celebrating Hanukkah. The production will involve the use of lighting, puppetry and other dramatic elements, Hanukkah themes, and Klezmer-style music and dance. The students will also have a chance to explore musical instruments commonly used in Klezmer music, as well as unconventional instruments that can enhance the performance with sound effects. We will incorporate Hebrew into the performance with Hebrew songs and different key words so the students will have multiple opportunities to learn and practice Hebrew concepts. Every class will include highly dynamic and wonderfully physical theater games related to the story themes, and designed to inspire the students’ imagination and innate creativity, and to foster the students’ appreciation for the empowering nature of live theater. The students will gain confidence and experience in using voice, body movement, and imagination effectively; they will also learn how to collaborate, listen and give feedback to each other within the supportive environment of the workshop. Alongside the performance aspect, the students will also be full contributors to the production by creating sets, props, and costumes for the performance. Students may also take part in creating the music and sounds for the performance. Throughout the process of piecing the performance together, the students will draw upon their own imagination and creativity as well as audio-visual and written sources containing information about Jewish life and culture.

Duration of Class: 75 minutes

Technical Requirements: CD player, DVD player, screen and projector to show YouTube clips, 2 microphone stands.

*Depending upon number of students, assistants will be needed to facilitate the smooth function of the class.

Rate Per Session for Maya: $675

Rate Per Session for Maya and Uri (Uri will instruct the musical aspect of the production and will need to attend about 4-5 sessions throughout the semester): $1,215

Rate Per Two Back-to-Back Sessions for Maya: $1015

Rate Per Two Back-to-Back Sessions for Maya and Uri: $1,755

 

Shabbat Version of Stone Soup (Grades 3-5) Residency

Instructors: Maya Blank and Uri Sharlin

This workshop will focus on a Shabbat version of Stone Soup. The story relates how Hershel, the clever beggar, tricks a Jewish village into giving him some food and teaches the villagers a lesson in the Jewish value of cooperation amid scarcity. The tale will be told using traditional Jewish food items, Shabbat themes, and Klezmer-style music and dance. The students will also have a chance to explore musical instruments commonly used in Klezmer music, as well as unconventional instruments such as pots, pans and different percussion instruments that can enhance the performance with sound effects. We will incorporate Hebrew into the performance with Hebrew songs and different key words so the students will have multiple opportunities to learn and practice Hebrew concepts. Every class will include highly dynamic and wonderfully physical theater games related to the story themes, and designed to inspire the students’ imagination and innate creativity, and to foster the students’ appreciation for the empowering nature of live theater. The students will gain confidence and experience in using voice, body movement, and imagination effectively; they will also learn how to collaborate, listen and give feedback to each other within the supportive environment of the workshop. Alongside the performance aspect, the students will also be full contributors to the production by creating sets, props, and costumes for the performance. Students may also take part in creating the music and sounds for the performance. Throughout the process of piecing the performance together, the students will draw upon their own imagination and creativity as well as audio-visual and written sources containing information about Jewish life and culture.

Duration of Class: 75 minutes

Technical Requirements: CD player, DVD player, screen and projector to show YouTube clips, 2 microphone stands.

*Depending upon number of students, assistants will be needed to facilitate the smooth function of the class.

Rate Per Session for Maya: $675

Rate Per Session for Maya and Uri (Uri will instruct the musical aspect of the production and will need to attend about 4-5 sessions throughout the semester): $1,215

Rate Per Two Back-to-Back Sessions for Maya: $1,015

Rate Per Two Back-to-Back Sessions for Maya and Uri: $1,755

 

Egyptian-Style Version of The Story of Exodus with Puppets Residency

Instructors: Maya Blank and Uri Sharlin

This workshop will focus on The Story of Exodus and the different Passover themes, and will culminate in a production of the story with the use of puppets Middle-Eastern-style music, costumes and other performance elements. The story tells how God, through Moses, prevailed upon the hard-hearted Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery by sending 10 terrible plagues to Egypt. Alongside the performance aspect, the students will also be full contributors to the production by creating the puppets, sets, props, and costumes for the performance. Students may also take part in creating the music and sounds for the performance. Throughout the process of creating all aspects of the performance the students will have multiple opportunities to explore musical instruments commonly used in Middle-Eastern music, as well as unconventional instruments that can enhance the performance with sounds effects. As we piece together the performance, the students will also draw upon their own imagination and creativity as well as audio-visual and written sources containing information about life in Ancient Egypt. We will incorporate Hebrew into the performance with Hebrew songs and different key words so the students will have various opportunities to learn and practice Hebrew concepts. Every class will include highly dynamic and wonderfully physical theater and puppetry games related to the story themes, and designed to inspire the students’ imagination and innate creativity, and to foster the students’ appreciation for the empowering nature of live theater. The students will gain confidence and experience in manipulating puppets and using voice, body movement, and imagination effectively; they will also learn how to collaborate, listen and give feedback to each other within the supportive environment of the workshop.

Duration of Class: 75 minutes

Technical Requirements: CD player, DVD player, screen and projector for showing DVD and YouTube clips, 2 microphone stands.

*Depending upon number of students, assistants will be needed to facilitate the smooth function of the class

Rate Per Session for Maya: $675

Rate Per Session for Maya and Uri (Uri will instruct the musical aspect of the production and will need to attend about 4-5 sessions throughout the semester): $1215

Rate Per Two Back-to-Back Sessions for Maya: $1,015

Rate Per Two Back-to-Back Sessions for Maya and Uri: $1,75

Shadow Puppetry and Jewish Storytelling Residency

Instructors: Maya Blank and Uri Sharlin (Grades 3-7)

This workshop will focus on a Turkish-Jewish version of The Hungry Coat. The story tells the tale of a Turkish folk hero who, after being delayed by an escaped goat, attends a friend’s Shabbat banquet clad in a filthy, tattered coat. The host is embarrassed, the guests shun him, and no one serves him food. He, in turn, goes home, bathes and dresses in his finest clothes, and returns to the banquet, where he stuffs food and wine into his coat. Asked why he feeds his coat, he notes his earlier appearance and explains, “This shows it was the coat and not me that you invited to your banquet. The puppetry and storytelling will focus on traditional Turkish-Jewish foods, Shabbat themes, and Turkish-style music and aesthetics. The students will also have a chance to explore musical instruments commonly used in Turkish music, as well as unconventional instruments that can enhance the performance with sound effects. We will incorporate Hebrew into the performance with a Hebrew song, as well as spoken and written key words so the students will have multiple opportunities to learn and practice Hebrew. Through a series of puppetry games the students will gain confidence and experience in using voice, puppet manipulation, and imagination effectively; they will also learn how to collaborate with each other within the supportive and creative environment of the workshop. Alongside the performance aspect, the students will also be full contributors to the production by creating the shadow puppets, screen, and Hebrew titles. Students may also take part in creating the music and sounds for the performance. Throughout the process of piecing the performance together, the students will draw upon their own imagination and creativity as well as audio-visual and written sources containing information about Turkish-Jewish life and culture.

Duration of Class: 2.5 hours (5-6 sessions)

Technical Requirements: CD player, DVD player, screen and projector to show YouTube clips, 2 microphone stands.

*Depending upon number of students, assistants will be needed to facilitate the smooth function of the class.

Rate Per Session for Maya: $1,080

Rate Per Session for Maya and Uri (Uri will instruct the musical aspect of the production and will need be present about half total time of the course): $1,620

 

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