Four Wishesis a teaching story of the Abenaki. Many different Native People of the northeast have their own version of the Gluskabe tale. They all share the same basic plot, but use different details to enhance their version. Storytelling goes back as far as humans can remember. Before there was the written word storytelling was used to keep track of peoples history. In early man, storytellers were looked up to and protected. They told of natural events, of reasons why things were the way they were, where people came from, why birds fly, and why the porcupine has thorns. Storytelling is a basic way people connect to one another. It is used to convey ideas, adventures, memories, history, and more. Each one of us has our own collection of unique stories to tell. It comes down to the way in which the story is told. My life as all our lives has many stories in them. We are all touched by different aspects of the stories we hear. I vividly remember the day my father told me the story of how he avoided combat while in the army. He did not believe in killing and had the opportunity to play on the Army football team instead of fighting in combat. He was smaller than most that played football. His Sargent told him to either dig deep and "prove to him that he had what it took" to make the team or pack his bag. So, my father took a beating on the football field in order to prove he had "it". I was about fifteen and this tale had a huge effect on me and the way I viewed my father. I always thought of him as tough, but after the story I thought of him as smart, determined and super tough. My father was a masterful storyteller; the more details he told the further involved I became in his story. The same is true with good theater.
I adapted this story from Joseph Bruchac’s "Gluskabe and the Four Wishes," a children’s picture book. I created the script by day-dreaming about the story. Images and ideas slowly came to me. I wrote all of my ideas down, deciding not to judge any of them, no matter how ridiculous they seemed. Then I took a look at the different characters in the story. Who were they? What were their differences? Their desires? How might I show all this? Then the idea came to me that all the characters should share a rhyming sort of speak to express themselves. That was the "hook" I needed. The main way the characters would express their stories. After writing and editing and editing and writing and editing some more, I came to realize that I needed a way to introduce the four men. I needed a narrator to weave the story together. Walwadam, a Bunraku puppet, is the storyteller. I thought I might be the storyteller, but the idea of having a more magical storyteller was even more appealing...So, we start with an idea and that idea grows and grows; as we give into new ones, magic happens.