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Wolves, lunatics and the moon raise $ for HART

Batya Podos has been a professional storyteller for more than 30 years, but her first shot at it came out of a mishap.

In the 1970s, her small theater group was scheduled to do a tour of Europe. At the last minute, every member of the cast dropped out except Podos.

Holding true to an old theater maxim, however, Podos made sure “the show went on.”

“That was my first pass at storytelling,” Podos said. “I turned the tour into a one-woman show, and I realized pretty quickly that I needed to relate more directly to the audience than I did as an actress.”

Thirty years later she’s still a one-woman show, telling stories from “the wide pantheon of folk tales” from around the world.

“Although I have not written these stories, what I have done is take two or three stories, shift them and change them to suit my needs,” explained Podos, a former drama teacher at Brown Middle School.

At a Sunday fundraiser for HART Theatre, Podos will share her favorite moon-related stories from 30 years of collected tales.

“Everything is related to the idea of the moon,” Podos said. “Of course, there will be a very juicy wolf story. There are several folk tales that deal with lunacy, lunatics and why the moon makes us do inexplicable things.”

The wolf story — which Podos conceded “might be a little scary” — draws from a tradition that appears in both Scottish and Japanese folk cultures.

“It’s a silkie story,” she said. “It comes from Scotland — from the Hebrides (Islands) — and tells of a person who can shift shapes into an animal.”

In Scottish tradition, a woman is able to take the shape of a seal, but Podos said her telling would be the story of a woman who shifts into a wolf.

“The magic is in the pelt of the animal,” Podos said, “and when the skin is taken, the shape-shifter is enthralled to whoever owns her skin. It’s a hard story with a tragic end.”

The show includes chocolate and a glass of champagne or sparkling cider. All proceeds go directly to HART Theatre and its community-theater projects.

(Parents take note: Some of the stories are not suited for very young children.)




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