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River Story is based on the Bulgarian folk tale Zlatka, the Girl Made out of Gold. Through traditional folk wisdom and beautiful imagery, the tale reminds us that we can shape our own destiny, that we hold the key to happiness in our own hearts. The story tells of a kind young maiden, Zlatka, who overcomes obstacles to discover her own strength and the path to happiness.

The story is told by the Samodivi (or Veelas,) mythological woodland fairies who, according to Bulgarian mythology, live deep in the forest and represent the essence of feminine spirit.

I have wanted to share the magic and beauty of Bulgarian folklore with American audiences for a long time. River Story is the fruit of that desire and embodies my love for Bulgarian mythology, music and tradition. I hope this story will touch the hearts of those who see it with the power of images, sounds, and ideas that are true to all of us and bring us together.

River Story is adapted and directed by Margarita Blush (2008); assisted by Betsy Tobin; puppets designed and created by Betsy Tobin; scenery and costumes designed and created by Margarita Blush and Robert Blush; music composed and performed by James Hoskins; performed by Margarita Blush, Lucia Rich, and Betsy Tobin.

River Story is funded in part by the Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute, the Boulder County Arts Alliance/Addison Mini Grant/Neodata Endowment, the Boulder Arts Commission, an agency of the Boulder City Council, and the Boulder Library Foundation.

River Story won the Encore award at the 2009 Boulder International Fringe Festival.

Audience reviews from the Boulder International Fringe Festival, 2009

Average Rating: Fabulous - 5 Stars!

-Saw this before the Festival. Fabulous storytelling, cleverly expressive puppets, and a unique musical accompaniment make for a moving and memorable experience for all ages.

-So enchanting. The care and simplicity of imagery make it fun and entertaining to watch. Take your kids or be a kid again!

-Truly beautiful, inspired, the music is outstanding, very enjoyable.

-Storytelling at its finest, masterful/magical performance, by the puppets, 3 women and musician. I find myself thinking about the river today and the choices of golden kindness or dark selfishness, this story flows deep. Bravo!

-Excellent performance! Wonderful acting, puppetry and music! Enchanting.

-Wonderful. Tell everyone you know with children about this show. Then enjoy the creative and beautiful melange of puppetry, shadow puppetry, movement, song and sound. James musical accomplishments are particularly noteworthy. Beautiful all around.

-Beautiful, magical and very creative.

-6 STARS!! incredibly creative, gorgeous puppets, stunning use of lighting, vocal range, and instrumentation to bring the story to life. id give this a best of the fringe of everything i have seen over the past three years.

lighting, sound design, acting, costumes, stages were all stellar. please come back next year!

-Thanks for including this all ages show to the Fringe. This was a beautifully told story that my entire family loved!