Guest writer Liat Ginsberg is a mother and former journalist for the Israeli newspaper, Maariv. She has taught at the Film and Media Department at Hunter College.
There are very few plays that kids and adults will enjoy at the same time. The Pied Piper, which recently ended its run at the New Victory Theater, is one of them. Even if the you and the kids know the story by heart, it was still fascinating to witness the display of 410 handcrafted marionettes, including 300 ravenous rats, who were brought to life by 11 puppeteers. All the marionettes are handcrafted, and the ornate scenery and intricate puppet design are also conceptualized and made entirely by hand in the Collas’ workshop in Milan.
The timing could not have been better to see this show. We are in a high political season. No matter what is your political inclination, the play gives you as a parent, a perfect opportunity to explain politics to your kids.Kids are very naive and tend to believe politicians, the play demonstrated vividly, that some politicians are corrupt, greedy, and make horrible mistakes. Our role, as a responsible society, like the poet, and the daughter of the mayor in the play, is to point out any injustice and fight it. My kids realized that even very powerful people make horrible mistakes and can still admit and fix it.
The Story of The Pied Piper
In 1284, while the town of Hamelin was suffering from a rat infestation, a piper appeared and promised the mayor a solution to their problem with the rats. The mayor promised to pay him 1000 guilders for the removal of the rats. The piper accepted and played his pipe to lure the rats into the river where all drowned.Despite the piper’s success, the mayor reneged on his promise and refused to pay him the full sum. The piper left the town angrily, vowing to return later to take revenge. The piper returned, attracted the town’s children, who followed him out of town, to join the poet and the friendly animals. In this version, the Piper returned the children after payment (donated the money) and admission of guilt.
Lessons learned from a work of art. That’s the way to teach our children.
The Culture Mom is a huge fan of the New Victory’s work. Please check out their upcoming shows here, including Victory Dance, their summer offering.
Disclosure: Our guest writer received complimentary tickets to facilitate this review but all opinions are her own, per usual.