Layer the Walls explores the imagined stories of tenants whose actions influenced the world we know today. A tenement scheduled to be torn down is where the story unfolds. We soon discover the interior walls reveal a rich history plastered with over 40 layers. These layers are examined through the use of masks, toy-theater techniques, and puppets in hopes to expose and break damaging cycles of prejudice, exclusion and injustice.
Ages: 7 and up
Grades: 2nd - 7th
Length: 60 min.
Social Studies: Irish, Italian and Eastern European Jewish immigration between 1860-1909. Tenement living, history of tenements, unionization and collective bargaining, connections to modern immigration
Science: Engineering/ bridge construction, The Great Blizzard of 1888
Themes: Immigration, discrimination, perseverance, familial love, friendship, self-pride.
Language Arts: Fantasy, foreshadowing, imagery, symbolism
Theater Arts: Acting, puppetry, mask, original music, devising, storytelling.
Grand Pistachio (Rachel Sullivan and Liz Parker) After collaborating for over 10 years Rachel Sullivan and Liz Parker formed Grand Pistachio, a company that creates original theater with puppets for young people and other inquisitive souls. Infusing their work with a sense of wonder, Rachel and Liz choose topics that inspire their own curiosity and imagination. The pair has a signature two-person performance style that utilizes highly theatrical forms of performance including puppetry mask and music to transport and engage audiences.
The duo first began creating for family audiences with Urban Stages’ outreach department, performing regularly at over 80 NYC public libraries. In 2011, their show Blown Away by Poetry was performed at the New York International Fringe Festival after which it toured to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The Bushwick Starr, Poet's House and numerous other NYC venues. In the 2015-2016 season, Rachel and Liz were selected for The New Victory Theater's prestigious LabWorks program where they began development of Layer the Walls. The Jim Henson Foundation selected Layer the Walls for a family grant in 2017.
Liz and Rachel both hold an MA in Applied Theater from CUNY/SPS and have extensive experience as teaching artists and directors of devised work with various populations. Rachel co-founded Honest Accomplice Theatre which brings original pieces of theater and media to college campuses and local theaters to begin conversations about gender. Her work with Honest Accomplice has been supported by The Ford Foundation and is utilized The New York City Commission on Human Rights. Liz has worked for Lincoln Center Theater, The New Victory Theater, The Museum of the City of New York, The Child Abuse Prevention Program, New York City Children's Theater, viBe Theater Experience, and Young Audiences New York.