The Cycle of Menasseh
The Cycle of Menassah is one of twelve epic latticed interlinked cycles of stories which have been passed down by generations of Jewish women from grandmother to grandaughter in the Drut’syla tradition. These include the subset of five extended story cycles known as The Gem Cycle.
They are exquisitely detailed story landscapes brought to life in the moment by tradition bearer Shonaleigh, who was taught by her Bubbe (grandmother).
Starting at one point in the lattice, we are immersed in the interconnected stories, which have slept untold for perhaps two generations.
The Golem of Prague
The Golem is the tale that inspired Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as well as writers such as JRR Tolkien and Terry Pratchett. Recorded live at Tūranga, Christchurch City Libraries.
“During the life of Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel – otherwise known as the Maharal – there were many stories of wonder, wit and wisdom, but one of the strangest has to be the story of the Golem.
“The community at that time was persecuted, and, during Passover, the whole Jewish quarter of Prague lived in fear of pogroms, the Blood Libel – a story that the Jews used the blood of a Christian child to bake the Passover matzos – being the excuse for such things. Emperor Rudolf II could not or would not protect the community. So the Maharal made a Golem of clay from the banks of the Vltava river: a Golem to protect the community in times of trouble: a Golem upon whose forehead was written the Hebrew word “emet,” meaning Truth: a Golem who, on a piece of parchment, has the unutterable name of the Most High upon his tongue.”
The word Golem occurs once in the Bible in Psalms 139:16, which uses the word גלמי, meaning “my unshapen form.” Sometimes in Yiddish it has come to mean clumsy or stupid.
He sleeps beneath the leaves… should you need him…
CDs of The Golem will be available on our upcoming online shop for a timeless, wise and moving tale for adults.
Shonaleigh brings this 90 minute series of intertwined and nested stories, including a heart-wrenching tale of a vizier and a gibbon, to life with her vivid use of imagery and music.
Tower of Bagel
Commissioned in 1998 for the UK’s leading storytelling festival, Festival at the Edge, Shonaleigh spins a tale of dark dreams, bright hopes and a child’s cradle made of pastry. Drawn from Jewish history and lore we find circuses, sign language, love, loss and the invention of the bagel.
Not everything fairy is sweetness and light. These are the dark tales of the fairy world where everything is not as it seems.
Fool of the Warsaw Ghetto
In the last clearing of the Warsaw Ghetto three children find themselves on a transportation to Auschwitz and encounter the Fool of the Warsaw Ghetto. He offers them a moment of magic in which to escape – if they have the courage to take it…
Not all stories have a happy ending, but they should all begin with outrageous hope.
Turning the Tide
In the winter of 1968 three Hull trawlers sank in Arctic waters. The loss of 58 men devastated the close-knit fishing community of Hessle Road. For the first time in their history the fishermen’s wives took action. They marched, campaigned and drew the world’s attention to their cause – the reform of an industry that was killing their men.
Performed at Hull Truck Theatre, 2018, in collaboration with curator Rupert Creed and singing duo Hissyfit.
The Cycle of Hillel – Coming soon