By Brian Hull
In August, we took our puppet play Kaytek the Wizard by Janusz Korczak to Seattle for the 2018 Korczak Conference. It was a 36-hour drive both ways from Nashville, TN, and back, and worth every minute, every mile. Our puppet troupe of four was received warmly, and has learnt more about the great man who taught us so many things. And it was great to finally meet the wonderful and kind Mariola Strahlberg, the person who made this trip possible, after talking with her about the show for almost two years. It was also great to meet others I’ve previously connected with through Korczak: Jerry Nussbaum from the Canadian Korczak association, and Elizabeth Gifford, the author of the book Good Doctor of Warsaw.
How inspiring to see everyone speak with such passion for Korczak and his teachings. Every person, who was presenting, seemed that could go on and on, well past their allotted time. There was music and fellowship between people from many countries and cultures: a glimpse of what a good world can be, working together for the good of all children. What an inspiring few days, and much too short. The idea is to get the word out as much as we can about the Good Doctor Korczak. And that is what we are determined to do in our own way with this show.
At the closing ceremonies, Mariola called the puppet troupe on stage and presented us with a beautiful award that reads:
For the flame of inspiration
And your commitment to the Children of the World”
I was completely overwhelmed and humbled by this. What more could one ask for? It inspired us to move forward and keep going, to tell the story of Kaytek, and introduced as well as we can the author and his lessons. From the Seattle conference, we took the show to the Great Plains Puppet Festival in Iowa. No surprise that people truly appreciated learning about him. So onward we go!
Notes from Mariola Strahlberg:
Brian wrote the script and lyrics for the show, based on the Korczak’s play. Sarah Hart, an extraordinary musical artist, worked with the lyrics and added her marvelous music. When the show is presented to schools, students and teachers receive a guidebook with various lesson plans.
My wish–yes, another dream–is to have a movie made from the Brian’s show with puppets, live action, and animation. What a treat that would be when adults–teachers and parents–see the movie and understand a bit more about lives of children and life lessons from Korczak, so deeply felt by all of us while watching the show.
If you have any suggestions on how to bring the movie idea into reality, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you would like to bring the live puppet show to your community, please email Brian directly at email@example.com.