Today’s blog post is by Ben Gown, producer of the family-friendly musical puppet show, The Girl and the Water Carrier, based on the Kar-Ben book, The Wedding That Saved A Town. Welcome, Ben!
As the producer of the show, I wanted to share a bit about how it came about. I am a musician, puppeteer and educator based in Los Angeles and have toured with multiple bands as well as some music-and-puppetry acts. Yale Strom, the author of the children’s book, was my teacher when I studied at NYU, and we have kept in touch over the years. In a conversation in the winter of 2019, Yale mentioned his children’s book, The Wedding That Saved a Town, based on an old Jewish tradition from shtetl times, and suggested that I consider creating a puppet show based on the story. He lent me a copy of the book which I took home, read, and began sketching some ideas of what a show might look like. I enjoyed the folkloric characters in the small shtetl as well as the positive values that the story conveys. The story, set in Pinsk during a cholera epidemic, culminates in something called shvartse chasene, a black wedding, an odd folkloric Jewish tradition that holds that the marriage of two orphans in a cemetery may lift a plague. This setting and that affirmation of life in the face of death became all the more relevant when COVID locked down our lives only months after I originally spoke with Yale. Not only did this compel me to move forward with plans, like everyone, I also found myself with more time at home to write the music, script, build puppets and produce the show.
Now, as we leave our COVID cocoons, the production is ready and we are booking shows to begin touring venues in Los Angeles starting in 2023. The show is followed by a meet-and-greet with the artists and can be paired with puppet-making workshops. If you, or anyone you know, will be in the Los Angeles area, you can visit our website or socials to catch this unique performance inspired by Kar-Ben’s book.
The ebook of The Wedding that Saved the Town is available from all major ebook retailers. Click here for the link to Amazon Kindle: https://www.karben.com/The-Wedding-That-Saved-a-Town_p_317.html