Creative Cauldron presents Aesop’s Fables, a production showcasing students handpicked from their Learning Theater Studio. This talented young ensemble is directed by Laura Connors Hall, who also adapted this treasured piece especially for them. With the support of a couple of professional actors, the cast treats the audience to a fun review of the beloved fables, and provides an evening of great family entertainment.
With the Creative Cauldron being a particularly intimate space (it is a black box theater), the Learning Theater Studio has been unable to put on a live show for the past 21 months, Even now they are enforcing strict safety protocols, holding shows at 50 percent capacity so that aÂdience members can be socially distanced, and they are requiring masks, along with proof of vaccination or proof of negative COVID Test taken within 72 hours of visit. While the space may be small, you can be confident that every precaution has been taken to ensure everyone’s safety. The entire cast is masked up as well, though you wouldn’t know it — in what is easily the most popping technical element, scenic and costume designer Margie Jervis created wonderful headpieces for the cast using a wire mesh, felt, feathers, furs, and more! While the headpieces are large and intricate, and the actors are all wearing medical-grade masks underneath them, their collective diction is crystal clear — quite a feat, considering the task. This can only speak to the fantastic direction and guidance that they were undoubtedly given.
The cast takes you through a collection of classic fables, transitioned through fun, catchy music by Matt Conner (who is also the Music Director) with lyrics by Stephen Gregory Smith. Emerson Thiebert and Carmen Ortiz make a memorable pair as The Tortoise and the Hare, and Ben Graham gives a lively performance as The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Will Stevenson and E. Augustus Knapp juggle a variety of roles as seasoned actors, and each brings strong, nuanced performances. For example, Knapp is stately and Shakespearean as Mr. Owl for The Tortoise and the Hare, and Stevenson commands the stage as the Lion for The Lion and the Mouse. With nine fables total, my favorites were The Ants and the Grasshopper and The City Mouse and the Country Mouse.
Lorien Jackson is a lackadaisical grasshopper who finds himself hungry and cold after failing to properly prepare for winter and has to turn to a group of ants for help — the same group of ants that he ridiculed earlier for working too hard. Audrey Burke is great as the Lead Ant, and Ben Graham is very funny as Grandpa Ant, who enjoys munching on Cheeto crumbs the size of tires. Lorien Jackson and Millie Owens play refined city mice, who desire a break from their loud, stressful lifestyle. They reach out to their country cousins, Carmen Ortiz and Elaina Rosenberger, with hopes for a visit. As it happens, the country mice are bored and yearn for some excitement, and so the pairs decide to switch lodgings for a respite — with hilarious and insightful consequences for both.
Creative Cauldron’s Aesop’s Fables was a very enjoyable evening! I would particularly recommend it for families, especially those with kids who are interested in theater and acting. I’ve found that kids particularly enjoy watching young actors, their own peers, onstage — it’s an exciting and inspiring experience for them, and won’t soon be forgotten.
Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission.
COVID Safety: Masks and social distancing are required along with proof of vaccination or proof of negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of visit. Accommodations are available for students under 12.
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