Nearly everyone remembers Aesop’s Fables, those classic, ancient tales about the turtle and the rabbit, or the wily fox and the oh-so delectable grapes.
However, playwright Kim Esop Wylie has updated the morality plays to tell stories with an aerobics instructor cast as the Tortoise (played by Jackie Ostlund) and paparazzi recording the confrontation between the Lion (portrayed by Lexi Miller) and the Mouse (played by Taylor Cottrell).
Director Jay Jenkins said several of his 16 young actors have more than one role in the six vignettes that make up the play.
“Mouse River Players hasn’t produced a children’s theater play in the summer for quite some time but it has worked well,” Jenkins said. “We jammed all the work into three weeks, which further complicated it. I couldn’t have done it without the amazing help from my assistant directors, Maddie Thompson and Josephine Lee.”
Costuming for Aesop ranged from the expected, such as the young maiden complete with long dress and sunbonnet, to the innovative, with white feather boas to create chickens (Lexi Miller and Taylor Cottrell).
It takes two actresses, Ruby and Emma Miller, to create the overloaded donkey, while Lexi Miller portrays the miller and Cole Cottrell plays his son.
Narrators Zoe Struckness, Jace Rodacker and Taylor Cottrell, explain and direct audience attention.
Other cast members include Chloe Allred as the butcher, Emma Nissen as Miss Hare, as well as Josie Brezenski, Cosette Quillin, Sara Brills, Leona Brezenski, McKenna Thompson, Ruby Main and Sarah Harstad.
“Our actors range from 7 to 13 years old,” Maddie Thompson said. “It has been such fun to work with them.”
Aesop’s fables is a favorite show of hers, since it was her first performance when she was just 7 years old.
“Aesop’s (Oh So Slightly Updated) Fables” will be performed today and Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Arlene, the Mouse River Players’ theater. Tickets are $5, with free admission for those 5 and younger. No reservations are needed, and seating is general.