Play - The Storyteller
by Elisa Miller - February, 1999
a time, there was a storyteller named Vered Hankin.
stories from history that were funny, moving, inspiring and educational,
all at the same time. Vered traveled all over the nation, performing
in theaters, schools, synagogues, parties, even on radio, TV and
film. From time to time, multi-instrumentalist Steve Roiphe joined
her and added a rich backdrop of sound to enhance the stories.
Vered's unique style incorporated dance, music, and storytelling
with magic and grace. Her powerful stories captivated audiences
from ages 3 to 113.
One day, Vered
was asked to tell a story to a big rowdy group of kids who refused
to settle down. The teacher tried to quiet the children by introducing
the story and asking them to pay attention, but the children just
became louder and wilder. The principal tried to quiet the children
by yelling and threatening them, but the children just shrieked
back at her and jumped in their chairs.
principal and the teacher shrugged their shoulders and stepped
aside, and Vered took the stage. Slowly and calmly, she began
to sing. The children had to strain to hear and they began to
quiet down. Vered magically transformed herself into an oak tree,
a reed, and the wind. Steve's harmonica blows a breeze and Vered
whirled and danced. The children grow silent. The wind swayed
their arms and the wind's song sang through their lips. Vered
brought the story to life and the children lived it
a long time ago, by the river, a reed swung happily to the rhythm
of the wind. One day as the reed silently swinging, its gaze
caught a nearby oak tree. "Hmmm," muttered the reed.
"If only I could be as tough as that oak tree. I would
stand my ground and no one could move me in any direction
Puffing by, the wind heard this and cried: "Ooooh! The
oak tree isn't so tough and neither are you! Get out of my way!
I'll show you! Ooooh!" The reed shuddered, but the oak
tree stood firm. "Ha!" cried the oak tree. "I
am not scared of you. I will not budge!" With all her might,
the wind shook the oak tree's leaves and branches, and one by
one they broke off to join her. The reed looked on, terrified,
but the oak tree stood firm ."I won't move! Go on!"
bellowed the oak tree. "Humph," the wind muttered,
twisting her muscular arms under the oak tree's roots; with
a "Hiyah!" she swooped up the oak tree and flung him
into the air. The reed trembled: "If the wind could uproot
the oak tree, what could she do to me?" Slyly swirling
towards him, the wind blew left and right. The poor reed had
no choice but to follow. The harder the wind shook, the quicker
the reed resonded, until soon, the two were dancing. "Ooooh!"
exclaimed the wind. "Wherever I swing, you swing. Instead
of fighting me, you listen; you understand." The wind winded
into a whirling stop, and then shuffled off, lightly humming
". The reed remained, swaying, and smiling:
"Perhaps things aren't always what they seem. Maybe I'm
not so weak after all and I may have even made a friend."
Indeed, from that day, whenever the wind whirled through, she
would slow down next to the reed, extending her arms for a dance.
When the story
ended, there was a pause. Then wondrous applause and laughter.
The children had listened and learned.
everybody lived happily ever after.
Reed and the Wind" by Vered Hankin © 1999, based on
an Aesop's fable