Educational Programs & Show Requests

NEW FOR SUMMER 2021!

A NEW ODDS BODKIN STORYTELLING PROGRAM ON ZOOM FOR LIBRARIES!

WHEN THE ANIMALS SPOKE

 

From two feet away, watch Odds Bodkin on full-screen tell four different animal tales on four different instruments. Invite your community!

WHAT STORIES ARE IN THIS 1-HOUR SHOW?

 

The Name of the Tree

Of all the thirsty, starving animals on the African savanna, only the little tortoise with the big heart remembers the name of the magical tree. When he speaks it, down tumble giant fruits, filled with water and filled with food. Odds has always been interested in myths about the universal Tree of Life, and this tale is a kid-sized version of that myth, filled with sounds and yes, talking animals.

Told with African thumb piano.

The Fox and the Cat

Aesop never failed to tell the pithiest of truths, and this fast little tale is no exception. A fox is bragging to his friend the cat about how many ways the fox knows to escape the dogs of the hunters, but when the dogs appear, it turns out the fox has never really tried any of them at all. That spells trouble.

Told with Celtic harp.

How the Animals Stole Back Fire

Myths about the origin of fire are universal. Prometheus the Titan, as the Greeks tell it, brought fire down from Olympus and gave it to humankind. Australian Aborigines were given fire, but were no longer one with the animals afterwards. In this show’s How the Animals Stole Back Fire, a Native American myth of the Maidu from the Northwest Coast, Odds tells the tale of how Thunder and his Three Evil Daughters steal the animals’ fire. Soon deer, bear, fox, mouse, lizard, wolverine, all the animals, begin to die off from winter’s cold. The tale Odds tells is how they discover where their fire is, and in desperation, how they steal it back.

Told with alto recorder.

Tale of the Kittens

What can go wrong in a fairy tale about singing kittens and a talking mother cat? In a secret world beneath a giant cauliflower no less? It turns out plenty can go wrong if you don’t treat the kittens right. Kids love this quirky and funny Italian fairy tale with its own catchy song.

Told with 12-string guitar.

 

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Odds Bodkin Zoom Appearances Work!

A Review from a Professor at Loyola University Maryland, September 2020

“Odds Bodkin has been thrilling our students every Fall for years now with his live performances, and this year’s zoom performance of Iliad Book 1 was every bit as successful.  We have gotten a good deal of feedback from the attendees, and it indicates that they were mesmerized, as usual.  Indeed, several students who had seen Odds perform in the past – and he has fans who come back every year – considered it even better.  They loved the fact that they could see his face up close, watch his fingers dance across his guitar and harp, and they thought not a bit of the usual intensity and beauty of his performance was lost.  I agree.  It was just terrific.  Several students said they broke out into applause at the end, even though they knew Odds could not hear them, and a few even said they gave him a standing ovation, though they knew he could not see them.  They were just carried away, as was I.  We were a bit apprehensive about having a zoom performance, but our apprehensions were completely unfounded.  Great performance, as usual, and every bit as impactful.  And it transported our students, who are studying remotely and feeling confined and disappointed with the current circumstances, beyond their homes, beyond these times, and beyond this world.”

Joseph J. Walsh

Chair, Department of Classics

Co-Director, Honors Program

Loyola University Maryland

Whether your students are learning at home or at school, you can still experience an Odds Bodkin performance or residency on ZOOM.

We at Rivertree Productions have built a state-of-the-art Zoom studio in New Hampshire with perfected HD video and HD sound over the platform. Powerful signal boosters and quality microphones eliminate shaky video and tinny sound. Book a date and time and we’ll send you your meeting invitation URL and password. Distribute them via email to your students. Just before the show, students log on and enter the “waiting room” until the show begins. We can accommodate up to 500 viewers. Every screen is a front row seat.

Contact us today for information on fees, availability and scheduling.

Odds Bodkin’s adult concerts are also available.

 

 


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Odds Bodkin’s Philosophy: Children & Imagination

If today’s children are digitally “re-wired,” why bother with spoken-word storytelling? Unlike movies, there are no visuals. Where’s the interactivity? Where are the buttons? On the surface, the entertainment experience looks incomplete.

Simply put, therein lies its power. The act of listening taps our inborn ability to create mental images. If “imagination is more important than knowledge” as Einstein famously said, then the very act of imagining builds strength and flexibility in the minds of children, firing up new neural nets and improving their ability to gain knowledge across the board. It’s not just stories they learn, it’s how to use their minds. Spoken-word stories are interactive with the brain itself.

Timeless ones––fairytales, myths, folktales, sacred stories––still exist because they carry ethical lessons that generations have seen fit to pass on. Because most cultures worldwide believe that kindness, courage, loyalty, truthfulness, compassion, curiosity and other virtues enhance our lives, they’ve always told stories about them. My favorites are here, brought to life with characters and something else––flavored music. I create my own, performed live as I speak. The same way movie music can excite us, relax us, even scare us, the music works as a second dramatic voice to guide young listeners’ feelings.

The best ethical teaching takes place when kids are thoroughly entertained.