December 17 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Oberufer “Shepherds Play,” a Nativity play, is once again offered by faculty of the Waldorf School at Moraine Farm. It shows twice on Thursday, Dec. 17: at 4:30 and 7:00 p.m. The play focuses on three shepherds who hear of the birth of Jesus and travel to bring him gifts.
Ilse Kolbuzowski, a former Waldorf Eurythmy teacher, shares this about the three Oberufer plays, of which the “Shepherds Play” is one:
“Oberufer is an island in the Danube, east of Vienna, close to the borders of Hungary. This island was settled by farmers from the Lake Constance region sometime in the 15th Century, and due to the relative isolation of island life, their traditions and folkways remained intact for centuries.
“One of their traditions was to perform these plays each year. In fall, when the harvest was in, the players were chosen regardless of religious affiliation or status, and received their parts from an esteemed farmer who would direct the plays for years, and then pass this honorable responsibility on to his son. The songs and words were passed on by word of mouth for generations.
“In the middle of the 19th century, a professor from Vienna, Karl Julius Schröer, who was researching folklore and regional traditions, discovered the Oberufer Plays. He was charmed and impressed by them and returned a few years later to write down as much as he could. Years later this professor became the teacher and revered friend of Rudolf Steiner [founder of Waldorf Education].
“Towards the end of the 19th century Professor Schröer spoke to Steiner about these plays. His enthusiasm and concern about the possible loss of such precious folkways touched Steiner, who quickly realized their beauty and proceeded to bring order to the sketchy script and the music. In 1910 the first revived performance took place in Berlin, Germany.
“From then on, these plays have become part of the Christmas time tradition for many Waldorf schools all over the world. They were first translated by Cecil Harwood, from England, who tried to keep intact the medieval way of speaking—the simple beauty of expression.”
A second of the Oberufer plays, the “Paradise Play,” in which God expels Adam and Even from the Garden of Eden, will show at 6:00 p.m. This play is not appropriate for students younger than third grade. It is performed by parents, faculty, and members of the wider Waldorf School at Moraine Farm community.