It Can Happen Here‘ is Giselle Hirschs’ story. The eldest of five children whose father was a hard working entrepreneur in a small Hungarian village, the teenage, Gissie, could not imagine the events that would change her life forever. Your students are drawn into this world through a peer whose interests and issues are much like theirs. Gissie, the eldest in her family, is in her senior year, in love, and planning a life rich in faith and family, as the events of the Holocaust unfold. Piece by piece her world is dismantled until every last hope for a normal tomorrow is crushed and brings to the fore a strength she did not know she possessed.
This story allows the audience to enter the heart and mind of one young person and emerge with an understanding of how people, good people, were drawn into the horror we now call the Holocaust. The post story discussion/workshop (depending upon host wishes and time) explores how issues such as conformity, peer pressure, fear, and bullying can all lead to the outcomes they have just seen. Direct examples are elicited of various levels of bullying in the school environment, and students are led to see how how these behaviors, unaddressed, can result in the most inhumane ends. Students are then led through a brainstorming session in which they develop strategies for addressing these various levels of bullying. Most significantly we will explore Ellie Wiezel’s memorable quote “The opposite of good is not evil. It is indifference.”
The entire program runs a full hour with discussion, an hour and twenty minutes with the workshop component.
For a full article about this process, as published in Arts Education and Social Change, 2005, Peter LangPublishers.
This comes in two models, a residency that culminates with a storytelling festival, or a single session with models and and a curriculum guide for teachers to use. Goal: Each student will create an original story with characters and plot based on the authentic details of a specific time and place in history.
1. Students will research the details of the era.
2. Students will create an original character which will include a biographical study.
3. Students will create an original story from an authentic historic episode, determining how it effected the life of their character.
4. Students will print their stories to be shared in a collective volume or storytelling festival.
Residency: 5-7 sessions
As students grow closer to the college application process, being able to create and write a personal narrative becomes essential. It is also a skill that will benefit them in any situation where they are called upon to express their personal and familial history, ideas and concepts, and plans for their future. This residency will teach students how to cull their lives for stories, discover the meaning behind them, shape them into sharable tales, and learn some presentational skills that will serve them in the telling.
(40-60 minute classroom workshops)
Plot, a well developed, interesting plot, evolves out of character. If you can draw a three dimensional being with motivations, idiosyncrasies, hopes, and fears, then their interactions with the world creates plot. This workshop is dedicated to helping your students explore character development. Through theater games, analysis, and interactive problem solving, students will learn to draw deeper characters.
There is a follow-up writing assignment that teachers may choose to use.
Often we read a good tale and in the retelling of it something is lost. When stories are transcribed into the printed word, they go through a transformation from an oral into a literary tradition. A reverse process is required to make the story live again, off the page. During our time together students will learn how to take a short written tale and blow life back into it.
Without our imaginations we cannot solve tomorrows problems. This workshop is aimed at waking up the creative juices, enabling students to get in touch with their native intelligence and wit, and learning cooperative games and techniques for building tales.
So, your students are already itinerant storytellers. This workshop will help them polish their skills. Focusing on use of the vocal pallet, physicalization, visualization, and characterization, participants will draw out their inner thespian.
A lightening speed personal stories workshop during which Judith will coach participants in creating lively, engaging, 5 minute stories from their lives. Then the public is invited in to enjoy, participate in, and judge the BIG STORY SLAM. This is a fantastic way to invest people in their lives, their community, and the power of a spoken art.
Details about creating a slam will be sent upon request.