Rock the Boat

About the show

Our newest project Rock the Boat is a touring puppet show for young audiences that explores themes of refugees, inclusion and respectful curiosity.

A Poet in a boat, alone at sea, observing his routines suddenly finds his home filling with new characters seeking shelter and safety. Each, we learn, has fled some disaster: war, fire or flood. As all the newcomers and the Poet navigate life together on the vessel, they meet conflict, generosity, kindness and questions about who each other are. The Poet’s poems become richer and deeper, and the unlikely collection of beings learn to steer threatening waters together.

Rock the Boat is being developed by a multi-ethnic ensemble creative team including slam-poet D. Colin, composer Julian Gerstin and students from two elementary schools in Southern Vermont. Work with students will be integrated with their class curriculum through writing, story telling and music workshops with the creative team. The student’s voices will contribute to the script, development of a study guide and touring residency model.

Rock the Boat aims to get young audiences thinking about relocation and displacement by addressing attitudes about acceptance of those who come from other countries and cultures. The production provides a narrative in which there is room for everyone in an inclusive society.

Directed by Eric Bass
Performed by Shoshana Bass, Kalob Martinez, Kaitee Yaeko Tredway
Poetry by D. Colin
Music by Julian Gerstin
Puppets by Ines Zeller Bass and Jana Zeller

Artist Bios

Eric Bass, Director
Eric has worked for thirty years as a director, playwright, performer, and mask and puppet maker. In 1982, Eric co-founded Sandglass Theater in Munich, Germany, with his wife, Ines Zeller Bass. In 1991, he was awarded the Figurentheater Prize of the City of Erlangen, Germany for his contributions to the field of puppet theater. In 2010, Eric and Ines Zeller Bass received the Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. He co-directed The Story of the Dog, a collaborative piece between Sandglass Theater and Sovanna Phum Theater in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which toured Cambodia in 2005 and the US in 2006. He co-directed Natan el Sabio, a collaborative project with Teatro Luis Poma in El Salvador. Eric toured in the Sandglass production of D-Generation, a piece about people with dementia. Eric is also co-director for the original Sandglass production of Babylon. He served on the board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters.

Ines Zeller Bass, Co-Founding Director
Ines Zeller Bass, Co-Founding Artistic Director of Sandglass, has been performing with puppets since 1968, when she became a member of the Munich marionette theater, Kleines Spiel. In 1978, she created her children’s hand puppet theater, Punschi, which toured Europe, Australia and the US. In 1982, Ines co-founded Sandglass Theater with husband Eric. Ines started Sandglass Theater’s program for family audiences. Together with Eric, she teaches their approach to puppetry performance and devised composition in workshops in Vermont and abroad. She designed the puppets and set for Natan El Sabio, a collaborative project with Teatro Luis Poma in El Salvador. Ines’ puppets and design for Babylon, Sandglass Theater’s newest production, include two of her many crankies. Ines toured in the Sandglass production of D-Generation, a piece about people with dementia. An UNIMA citation winner, Ines also received the Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2010.

D. Colin, Writer
Danielle Colin has been writing poetry since age 11. As a teenager, Danielle’s poetry was a personal outlet and rarely shared with others. Danielle has B.A. in English, with concentrations in African American literature and creative writing. She also holds Masters degrees in English and in Africana Studies, concentrating in African American literature and creative writing. Her poetry work has also involved teaching poetry workshops especially for teenagers. Danielle was the poet-in-residence for Sandglass’ 2016 Voices of Community Week. Her poetry strongly expresses her feelings, insights, and imagery as a child of Haitian immigrants. This poetic style dovetails with Sandglass’ own precise and evocative use of puppetry. Sandglass’ production, “Rock the Boat,” will be written in Danielle’s voice, capturing the narrative style of a Haitian-American slam poet. Using this voice helps young audiences connect with the play’s themes, and poses the question: What can WE do to help?

Artist Bios

Julian Gerstin, Composer
Julian has performed and studied a wide variety of music for over 40 years. His main styles are traditions of Martinique, Cuba, Ghana (Ewe) and Brazil; popular music form those same countries as well as Nigeria, Puerto Rice, Trinidad and other Caribbean islands; Balkan music; and jazz. He has performed styles ranging from punk to choral music, Mexican son to zydeco.

Shoshana Bass, Performer
Shoshana refers to herself as one of the “daughters of sand”, and has just assumed the role of Co-Artistic Director at Sandglass Theater. Having been raised in a traveling family of internationally acclaimed puppeteers, she has spent her life witnessing and in dialogue with artistic voices of diverse cultures, heritages, and perspectives. Her performance mediums range throughout theater, dance, circus and puppetry which makes her an enthusiastic and flexible collaborator. She is a graduate of Naropa University with an Interdisciplinary degree in performing arts, peace studies and tai chi. Shoshana has performed and choreographed in Poland, the Virgin Islands, Germany, and the United States. She tours internationally with three Sandglass productions for both adults and family audiences.

Kalob Martinez, Performer
Kalob has performed with Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Alley Theatre (Houston), Main Street Theatre (Houston), Houston Shakespeare Festival, and was an Associate Artist for the Classical Theatre Company (Houston) 2009-2013. He is an MFA candidate in the Puppet Arts Program at the University of Connecticut, where he created his solo production, “El Beto,” based on Shakespeare’s MacBeth. Kalob is also a Fight Choreographer. Kalob is also a core ensemble member in Sandglass’ production of Babylon and has been essential to developing the project from it’s first creation period.

Kaitee Yaeko Tredway, Performer
Kaitee Tredway is a Boston-based puppeteer and actor. She is an alumna of the National Puppetry Festival at the Eugene ONeill Theater Center, where she has studied with international puppet artists Hugo & Ines, and Yael Rasooly. She has performed original short-form puppet pieces at the Puppet Showplace Slam, Puppet Playlist, and Drama of Works Kamikazee Slam. This October, she will be part of the puppeteer ensemble in Martin P. Robinson’s new Halloween musical, All Hallows’ Eve.

Thank you to our funders

The National Endowment for the Arts Art Works, The Bay and Paul Foundation and all
those who generously contributed to our Indiegogo campaign