Greensburg Daily News
Actors from the Minnetrista Theatre Preserves (MTP) performed five Aesop’s Fables for children at the Greensburg Public Library Wednesday during one of the library’s summer events.
Children and adults alike were both entertained by the performance given by MTP actors during a presentation of five Aesop’s Fables. As the performance began, audience members were welcomed to the “Aesop’s Circus” by Grandmaster Flop and his amusingly skittish assistant Flip, who spoke only through kazoo. The fables were performed by the actors with the use of several different kinds of puppets, props, music and singing.
The first fable was “The Lion and the Mouse”, where Reginald the tap dancing mouse saved himself from becoming dinner for a lion by doing a dance. The lion was amused by the mouse’s dance and let him go. While the lion was attempting to recreate Reginald’s dance, it was trapped in a net by a hunter. The mouse happened upon the trapped lion and freed it, teaching the lion to dance afterward. The two new friends danced off into the forest together, opening the way for the next fable.
Before the next fable started, Grandmaster Flop taught the audience how to make birds, rabbits, and dogs as shadow puppets. In “The Country Mouse and the City Mouse,” Flip and Flop used shadow puppets to tell the story of a country mouse who was invited to visit his cousin in the city. The country mouse said goodbye to all of his friends and hitched a ride with the farmer to get to the city. There, he was in wonder of the different things the city had to offer, but was frightened by many things and ended up missing his home and friends. The country mouse bid farewell to his cousin and returned home to the life he loved, bringing the city mouse for a visit. The audience was then given a chance to practice the shadow puppet skills they’d just learned.
While setting up for the third fable, Grandmaster Flop spun three plates on sticks, which was both impressive and captured the attention of the children in the audience. The third fable was “The Fox and the Crane,” which featured a rambunctious Francesco Fox and a very tall dancing Crane. Crane entered the scene on stilts, towering over the children in the audience. The fox was very hungry and had forgotten his lunch. His more responsible friend, Crane, had remembered hers and when she was cleaning her feathers, Francesco stole food from her lunch box. He started to choke on the food and begged Crane to help him. Crane saved her friend, of course, and Francesco apologized for stealing because it was wrong.
As Grandmaster Flop set the stage for the fourth fable, “The Ant and the Grasshopper,” he noticed that both the ant and the grasshopper had gone missing. He set the small flea circus up and asked the children in the audience to look under their seats to try to find the ant, but no ants were to be found... until a frantic Flip informed the audience that she had ants in her pants. When Flip was free of the tiny invaders, Flop started looking for the missing grasshopper. Meanwhile, the ant started raiding Crane’s leftover lunchbox, chanting “food, food, food,” all the while.
Flop searched the room for the grasshopper with no luck so he again turned to the audience. “Can everyone check their pockets? He’s a very sneaky grasshopper.” Children turned out their pockets and looked around in curiosity, trying to catch a glimpse of the missing bug. “He’s not in your pockets?” Grandmaster Flop asked. “Well, then how about your shoes?” As children prepared to search there as well, Flop found the grasshopper in a closet at the back of the room.
The grasshopper met the ant while it was collecting food and offered to help, but lost interest before even collecting one grape. The grasshopper was distracted by the circus equipment and stopped working to go play. When it was time for the ant to eat, the grasshopper asked if he could join. The ant said, “No, because you didn’t help,” which made the grasshopper very sad. The grasshopper left to go practice circus tricks, hoping to curb his hunger for a little while. The ant saw this and wanted to learn how to do the tricks. The ant and the grasshopper became friends and learned to balance fun with work.
In the fifth and final fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” children in the audience watched the two animals prepare for a race around the building. The hare took off at high speeds, disappearing from the room in the blink of an eye, while the tortoise ambled along slowly behind. When both animals were out of view, sound effects and Grandmaster Flop helped the audience imagine the race. When the hare got close to the end, she was very tired and sat down for a nap. The tortoise, who was far behind, caught up and won the race while the hare was asleep, showing that perseverance and not giving up can be just as valuable as speed and skill.
Both children and adults enjoyed the show and the way MTP actors used the props, sound effects, and puppets to aid in telling the stories. Audience members sang along and were involved in the show, answering questions. Several times, the show extended into the audience, with Grandmaster Flop often looking for a child to call on for an answer to one of his questions. The Minnetrista Theatre Preserves performance seemed to be an overwhelming success and the huge crowd signing up for the summer reading program afterward put smiles on all the library staff’s faces. Next Wednesday will be the Water Show, which has been a wildly popular event in the past.
To sign up for the Greensburg Public Library’s summer reading program or to learn more about events planned for this summer, visit www.greensburglibrary.org.
More photos from this event can be found at www.greensburgdailynews.smugmug.com.
Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004