by: David F. Ashton Brooklyn Bay Theater’s Melanya Helene and Mark Otto are already preparing for their December “Play after Play” family presentation, “The Drum”.

Now into the eighth season of performances at their Brooklyn Bay Theater, Melanya Helene and Mark Otto are rolling out performances for the Holidays.

In the second half of November, Helene will reprise her one-person show for adults, 'Hopeless'.

Unlike their 'Play after Play' performances for kids, this story is based on the writings of Pema Chödrön, an American Buddhist nun. 'I describe it as a celebration of exhaustion, uncertainty, and the 'art of giving up hope'. It's is kind of an exploration of very basic Buddhist principles that I'm presenting - in a performance of stories, music, and musing.'

'Hopeless' runs November 18 through December 3 on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 pm.

Then, beginning December 10th for two weekends, 'Play after Play' for children returns - as Helene and Otto present 'The Drum.'

'This is a sweet story from India about a poor boy who gets what he wants by being kind and generous to others,' Helene said. 'Even though it's a tale from a faraway land, people will find the message is appropriate for the Holiday season.'

Looking back on seven years of performances, Otto said the best part of it for him is seeing families come back year after year. 'It's wonderful that people enjoy what we do so much that they return. It's about being together, sharing 'story and play'. These are very basic things that bring families, and people, together.

Helene added, 'Our performances are simply and elegantly designed to bring out children's imaginations. They're all based on 'world wisdom' stories. After the story we play, en masse, together.'

Otto acknowledged that the pair invented this unique art form. 'Last week, a woman said it was so wonderful to enjoy a great story, but her kids build up lots of energy. And that's why it's great, after they've been setting in theater seats, to have an active play session before leaving.'

'It's always been our goal to provide high-quality accessible theater for families in this area,' Helene added.

For more information, and to find the difficult-to-locate theater just south of Powell Boulevard in the Brooklyn neighborhood, go online to: - or - for more information. Or, call 503/772-4005.

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