Solving the riddle of Rumpelstiltskin

IMAG0876-1Allison has worked with our theatre for several years, stage managing shows and contributing her creativity to our dynamic program. She is currently assisting Theatre Artistic Director Reba Short with Playmaking: Rumpelstiltskin, a collaborative playwriting process in which young actors work together to develop a script.

One of the very first questions that came up in our first week of playmaking was, “Who is Rumpelstiltskin?” We even wondered, “What is Rumpelstiltskin?”

Those Grimm brothers are certainly mysterious about the magical little man. As we dive into playmaking, our group of young actors has made it a mission to solve these riddles for our future audiences. Reba and I posed the added challenge of thinking outside the box, encouraging these creative minds to reach beyond the original fairytale as they bring this story to life.

At our first meeting, we read through the very beginning of the story and used movement, writing prompts, and tableaux (or frozen pieces from the story) to explore the Weaver, his daughter, and the King/Prince (or as we’ve labeled him, a “Pringle”) who meets them. After only one day, we collected a rich basis for what brings this girl to the Pringle’s castle to face that seemingly impossible task of spinning straw into gold.

IMAG0861At our second meeting, our Playmakers were eager to jump into the puzzle of Rumpelstiltskin himself. Topher, a Children’s Theatre veteran, bravely volunteered to be the model for Rumpelstiltskin’s form. The group proceeded to fill in the outline of his body with words about his identity and intentions, even exploring parts of his appearance. But they were certainly not finished with just the inside!

The second stage of this project involved thinking like Rumpelstiltskin. What are his first words to the Weaver’s daughter? After all, he needs to catch her attention and convince her to trust him with just one sentence! Perhaps he is indignant -“How dare you not notice me?” wrote enthusiastic new-comer Leah.) Or perhaps he’s playful, singing “La la la, I am a man who can help you, la la la.” Or maybe those mysterious Grimm brothers were onto something: “I am as big as a shoe and I can help you,” is an intriguingly cryptic greeting contributed by actor Sydney.

We ended our first week by brainstorming answers to these four statements:

I am as big as ___

I am as small as ___

I am as kind as ___

I am as forgiving as ___


There are so many possibilities! Can you think of any?

White Cane Walk Grand Marshals: Senator King and our own Renaldo Rodriguez!

Senator Angus King and Renaldo Rodriguez chat about Maine’s White Cane Law while puppeteer Bridget Fehrs looks on.
Senator Angus King and Renaldo Rodriguez chat about Maine’s White Cane Law while puppeteer Bridget Fehrs looks on.

Independence is the word! Renaldo Rodriguez and Senator Angus King have accepted invitations to be the Marshals of the 18th annual Iris Network White Cane Walk for Independence on Saturday, October 19th. The white cane is a mobility tool for individuals who are visually impaired or blind and October is White Cane Safety month. It symbolizes independence, something both Renaldo and Senator King believe in.

Who is Renaldo Rodriguez? The White Cane Walk’s Grand Marshal, Renaldo is a member of the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine’s Kids on the Block® puppet troupe, a disability-awareness program. Theatre Artistic Director Reba Short notes, “KOTB teaches children about disabilities and to accept them.  Renaldo is an 11 year old boy who uses a white cane. He teaches kids about visual impairment and blindness. We are delighted that Renaldo will be leading the Walk this year!”

Senator King signed the White Cane Bill into law in 1999 when he was then Governor of the State of Maine. Maine’s White Cane Law ensures that people who are visually impaired or blind and who use a white cane or dog guide have the same right as sighted pedestrians to travel safely on foot. The Law notes that traffic should yield, as always to pedestrians in the cross-walk. Drivers should not shout or gesture at individuals using a white cane or a dog guide.

The White Cane Walk for Independence is held every October to coincide with White Cane Safety month. It starts and ends at Monument Square in Portland. It is a cheerful 1.2 mile stroll through the Old Port and the proceeds raised provide training, education and support for people with vision loss or blindness throughout the State of Maine.

About The Iris Network

The Iris Network is a state-wide, community-based private nonprofit with a vision of building a world where no person is limited by visual impairment or blindness and everyone is an advocate for eye health and the needs of people who are visually impaired or blind.  Based in Portland, The Iris Network has field-offices in Saco, Lewiston, Bangor, Houlton, Augusta and Rockland.   For more information about any vision loss related issue, visit The Iris Network at

Cooking Healthy: Mini Zucchini Pizzas

Hi, everyone! Did you catch our Cooking Healthy workshop this morning? Even if you missed it, we’re excited to share today’s recipe with you. Make delicious, nutritious goodies at home, any time!

Today’s recipe:

Mini Zucchini Pizzas!

Cooking Healthy is a monthly cooking program sponsored by Northeast Delta Dental and is free with admission. Hope to see you next month!