The Hero's Heart:  Inside the hero's journey

From the humble & small come great acts of courage and compassion. In quests to find a glimmering mountain or a tiny piece of earth - the hero's perseverance and generosity brings magical rewards.
The Hero's Heart is a collection of stories, myths and folk tales from throughout the world that trace the hero's journey; a journey that demands strength, wit and heart. Lessons about life (trust, persistence, compassion, humility) emerge from the spectacle of the production (animal costumes, dance and movement, blacklight effects). The performance can be adapted to work for different audiences and lengths, by selecting different arrangements of the stories. The Hero's Heart can be produced as a performance by Magical Rain actors or as a residency with student workshops leading up to a production with student actors joining the Magical Rain ensemble.

In many of these stories, it is a child or tiny creature who, through the strength of their love and dedication, are able to accomplish great deeds. For children (and grown ups, for that matter) who may sometimes feel small and insignificant, these stories convey an important message about our inner power and the rewards of compassion.

Sample stories from "The Hero's Heart":

The Journey of Jumping Mouse (Native American): A tiny mouse finds that its quest for the "Sacred Mountains" requires great risks and self-sacrifice, leading to magical rewards.

The Magic Dipper (Russian): A young daughter seeks water for her dying mother during a drought, and her devotion to her task leads to wondrous results.

The Earth  Diver (Native American - Anishinaabe): The wickedness of the earth's people results in a Great Flood destroying the world. It is then up to the animals to summon courage and self-sacrifice in order to restore the earth.

The Wooden Bowl (from Grimm's fairy tales): By a small but startling act, a child teaches his parents a lesson about respecting one's elders.

"Thank you for a wonderful performance. Our students are still talking about the play and how the music made the play even more perfect. I have enclosed some letters from our 5th grade class at Northwood Elementary. Once again, thank you for allowing our schools to be a part of a spiritual event."
- April Goodwin, Diversity Program Coordinator, Parchment Public Schools

"Dan Runyan and Ike Vasquez worked with this group of very demanding young boys on a performance about a hero's journey. The result of the final performance was well above the expectations of anyone involved. Dan and Ike have my highest recommendation. Organizational skills and creative energy are what takes them to the next level of theater performance. Their enthusiasm is contagious and any student working with them may find themselves totally emerged in the theater world." - Toni Baldwin, Kalamazoo Institute for the Arts

"Collaborating with Irene and Dan is an enriching experience. They dig deep to learn as well as teach in their ambitious projects, and this one is no exception. The elements found in the "Hero's Heart" are central to the lives of middle school students. Exploring the role of heroes with depth and authenticity gives these students a unique opportunity." - Anna Marovich, Middle School Teacher, Kazoo School
Kids letters and drawings