The Thrill of Live Theater…In Your Classroom

Mythos

Just back from their world premiere at the NEW YORK CHILDREN’S THEATER FESTIVAL and their recent performance at the PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART, Think BIG! Theater Arts presents…

MYTHOS a puppet-filled adventure through Greek mythology

Mythos- play with puppets live-streamed to elementary schools

Mythos takes us on a journey back to Ancient Greece to discover through four fantastic myths the cause of mankind’s problems and what we can all do to make things better.

Featuring a one-of-a-kind menagerie of Puppets (shadow puppets, live hand puppets, hand and rod puppets, marionettes, shadow puppets) the performers and teaching artists utilize their expertise in drama, dance, puppetry, music, and media to both entertain and educate young audience

 

PicsCastCreativesSynopsisCurriculum

 

DonDowdell -Mythos
Don Dodwell

“Teaching should be a privilege, an honor undertaken with the highest ambition in mind –
to groom, educate, and inspire the next generation.”
– Lesley Chilcott, Producer of Waiting for Superman

Don Dowdell is grateful for the privilege to work with ThinkBIG! Theater Arts and combine the roles of educator and performer. As a special education teacher and literacy specialist, Don is always looking for new ways to stimulate student interest in various genres of literature. Whether fictional or informational text, he utilizes character voices to encourage expression and fluency. He strives to introduce students to various forms of literature and encourage the growth of lifelong readers. As educators, our primary goal is to foster the development of independent learners. Students should want to learn more about the world around them.

As a lifelong learner, Don looks for opportunities to expand his own knowledge and growth. Thanks to his friends in ThinkBIG!, he is adding new performance methods to his educational repertoire. Every teacher should be a student, just as every student should be a teacher. As a student of the world around him, Don poignantly ponders about his observations and shares those ponderings with those around him, whether they want to hear them or not.

When he is not teaching and learning, Don enjoys spending time with and testing new material on his wife and sons. However, Amy, Jack, and Dylan frequently request that he keep the voices in his head and just use “the Daddy voice.”

Frank Longo Mythos

Frank Longo, Lead Puppeteer and Effects Designer

Recent credits include puppet design and puppeteering for the world premiere of Mythos at the New York Children’s Theater Festival, puppet and costume design for Happy as Clams: The Musical, and construction of a 10-foot tall dragon puppet used in several NY-area productions of Shrek the Musical. Other credits include design and construction of the Audrey 2 plants for Little Shop of Horrors and puppeteering on the TV pilot Kozy Bear and the Feefers. Most recently, Frank designed and constructed props for Tru TV’s The Carbonaro Effect.

Suzanne Mason Mythos

Suzanne Mason

Bio coming soon.

Kristen Orsini - Mythos

Kristen Orsini

Kristen considers herself a “Jill of all trades” and loves exploring anything that deepens a connection to one’s own creative source and serves to unify community. She has a BFA in Acting, a Masters degree in Special Education and will is a certified yoga teacher.  She also teaches Music Together®-an early childhood “Mommy and Me” music program where she is constantly reminded of the essential nature of curiosity, persistence, and shared abounding joy. Here’s to the thrill of discovery, allowing space for exploration and enjoying the journey together. “Pure of heart and lots of love for everyone”.

Heather Van Velsor Mythos

Heather Van Velsor

At the helm of ThinkBIG! Theater Arts, Heather has been energizing classrooms and educating young actors since 1996, when she began her work as a teaching artist. Since then, she’s designed curricula to enhance units on subjects ranging from Romeo and Juliet, to African folklore, to Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories. After spending time on set at Kauffman Studios with Sesame Workshop, Heather discovered the “power of puppets” and ultimately trained with John Tartaglia of Avenue Q and ImaginOcean. During that time, Heather and husband Shawn Thorgersen discussed plans for their first original production, Mythos. Since then, Heather has added producer to her list of credits and looks forward to leading her creative team in new, enriching, educational theater for young audiences.

 Danny Gorman Director Mythos

Danny Gorman, Director
Director

Danny has worked as director, choreographer, and theatre arts educator on Long Island for the past six years. A graduate of NYU, he is currently pursuing his MFA in Directing at The Actors Studio Drama School. NYC: Ships in the Night (world premiere), Urinetown,  ASDS:Loyalties, The Man Who Couldn’t DanceThe Last Romantic, or, Why We Fight (upcoming world premiere). Favorite Regional: the Long Island Professional Premieres of Lombardi and The Marvelous WonderettesLes Miserables42nd Street,Disney’s Beauty and the BeastGreaseDora the Explorer Live! Dora’s Pirate Adventure.

Heather Van Velsor Mythos

Heather Van Velsor,  Producer

At the helm of ThinkBIG! Theater Arts, Heather has been energizing classrooms and educating young actors since 1996, when she began her work as a teaching artist. Since then, she’s designed curricula to enhance units on subjects ranging from Romeo and Juliet, to African folklore, to Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories. After spending time on set at Kauffman Studios with Sesame Workshop, Heather discovered the “power of puppets” and ultimately trained with John Tartaglia of Avenue Q and ImaginOcean. During that time, Heather and husband Shawn Thorgersen discussed plans for their first original production, Mythos. Since then, Heather has added producer to her list of credits and looks forward to leading her creative team in new, enriching, educational theater for young audiences.

ThinkBig! Theater Arts

Shawn Thorgersen, Book

As an author, Shawn Thorgersen penned Bizenghast, an adaptation of the cult-fav Young Adult manga series for TokyoPop. His play Mythos enjoyed its world premiere at the 2014 New York Children’s Theater Festival, earning him a place in the Dramatists Guild of America. ThinkBIG! later presented Mythos at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Non-fiction credits include serving as a contributing arts writer for Long Island Press and as a features editor for New York Resident. As an educator, Shawn has taught composition and rhetoric courses at institutions such as CUNY York College and Yeshiva University. Currently, Shawn teaches English to outstanding students at the Schechter School of Long Island. His fiction is represented by Triada US Literary Agency.

Frank Longo Mythos

Frank Longo, Lead Puppeteer and Effects Designer

Recent credits include puppet design and puppeteering for the world premiere of Mythos at the New York Children’s Theater Festival, puppet and costume design for Happy as Clams: The Musical, and construction of a 10-foot tall dragon puppet used in several NY-area productions of Shrek the Musical. Other credits include design and construction of the Audrey 2 plants for Little Shop of Horrors and puppeteering on the TV pilot Kozy Bear and the Feefers. Most recently, Frank designed and constructed props for Tru TV’s The Carbonaro Effect.

 

ThinkBig! Theater Arts

ThinkBig!  Theater Arts

ThinkBIG! is a multi-disciplined theater arts company offering community and school programs, as well as performances for young audiences and families. Since our humble beginnings in 1996, we have consistently grown and remained dedicated to producing new and interesting arts programs. We also provide workshops and artist-in-residency programs in the Long Island/New York City area.

ThinkBIG! creates programs that have direct relevance to the educational objectives of the schools and community organizations that we serve. Our performers and teaching artists apply their expertise in theater, drama, music, dance, puppetry, and media arts. Our goal is to enrich content curricula for students and teachers and to give back to our local communities and audiences through creativity.

“I’m teaching him to be a storyteller, just like me…”

We begin Mythos before a “live” audience of shadow puppets, just before the Poet arrives to entertain them with stories. This time, he’s brought along his son, a live-hand puppet we’ll simply call Boy. Today is the first day of Boy’s apprenticeship as a poet, but there’s just one problem….

“They’re all so … sad.”

Boy has picked up on a truth about Greek mythology: Many of the stories end poorly for our heroes. In front of the live audience, he challenges his dad, who sees each tale as a work of timeless beauty, sad as it may be.

“Take a walk with me.”

So begins their journey through four famous stories, all drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Joining the stories of Pandora, Daedalus and Icarus, Arachne, and Baucis and Philemon, Poet and Boy explore whether it’s better to tell the truth about our world—that things don’t always end well—or to forget these old myths in favor of milder tales with happier endings.

“I’m Hope. You’re gonna need me.”

Participating in stories featuring hand-crafted shadow, hand-and-rod, papier-mâché, and marionette puppets, father and son come to an understanding: The stories may be sad, but we’re meant to learn from them. We can see what not to do, and how to behave with wisdom and kindness in our own lives. In doing so, we can heal the world…

Sample Curriculum- Fall 2015 Live-Streamed Educational Theater Festival

Curriculum for each show will be tailored to Common Core and/or TEKS standards.

Each show’s curriculum will include several theme specific activities designed to ignite the student’s interest in, and understanding of, the major themes of each play.

Each activity is designed to encompass between 3 and 5 classroom periods.

The students will read the play and cite strong textual evidence to support their analysis of the theme, conflict and characterization in the play. They will explain the development of the theme, in the text, including how it builds and leads to a climax.

The students will analyze the structure of the play including the author’s choices of where to begin and end the play, the choice of comedy or tragedy and imagine the play in a different genre. How would that change it?

The students will discuss their point of view derived from the text and explain how they developed that point of view using the text as evidence.

Activity #1
The students will engage in a discussion using different topics related to the theme of each play. They will prepare and present evidence from the text to support the topic to stimulate a range of ideas. Create questions to ask others. Ex. Romeo and Juliet. Theme-family dysfunction good or bad?

Activity #2
The student swill create a digital media presentation ( audio, visual) to enhance reasoning and evidence to support discussion based on theme, conflict and/or characterization.

Activity #3
The students will memorize and perform scenes from play demonstrating a command of the language.

This is a general sample of VirtualArts Education Curriculum. Detailed, play specific and age specific curriculum will be provided to each school/district upon enrollment.