Farewell and adieu, Old Man ...
I've been with Theatre Direct's tabletop puppet show, Old Man and the River, since its very inception - ever since the earliest workshop 5 years ago when a focus group of 5-year-olds laughed at a man made of popsicle sticks who woke up and swept his floor. Our "trees" were pool noodles back then - plain, naked pool noodles - gaffer-taped to a literal table top. It's been such a full and lovely road of developing, tweaking, building and learning all these years later, and I don't think I've ever felt so close to a show or a group of creators.
It may be that Sunday's performances at Crow's Theatre were the last, at least for the foreseeable future. What we leave behind, then, is the lasting memory of a perfect piece of intricately-choreographed puppet theatre, one that not only entertained people by tickling their souls and touching their hearts, but also by inspiring some folks in profound ways.
One day, a teacher sent us this letter:
"This morning I took the kids in to school. When I checked in at the office, the woman who works in there was praising this little boy. He left the office feeling good, and then she told me the story. He is known for bullying kids around the school. She had a talk with him recently about how whenever a child comes in crying or upset it is his name that comes up. Well...yesterday, a girl who is regularly bullied by him, had broken her arm last week and was at the school. This boy shadowed her all day, looking out for her, read to her, cared for her. She even rested her head on his shoulder. When he was asked about it he talked about seeing Old Man and the River. Somehow the performance shifted his perspective, and it seems that he has made the shift from curmudgeonly child, to a vulnerable caring child. I know this performance is powerful, and this is amazing and truly magical and brings tears!"
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