On Adaptations of Children’s Literature…

An interview with Rebecca & Joan

Rebecca and Joan — who when not embodying Mdme. Directrix and Thumper, respectively, are the SPPP’s producing organization, Idiot String — sat down after one of the final Aesop Amuck rehearsals with none other than Sam Bertken (a.k.a. Meekins) to talk about their inspirations for both Aesop Amuck and the Peripatetic Players’ debut adventure, O Best Beloved.*  Sam writes for S.F. Theater Pub,** a great blog about theatre and the independent theatre scene in the Bay Area that is run by producer, playwright & director Stuart Bousel.

We talked about influences like Mercer Mayer & Maurice Sendak, the Muppets, and Medieval & Renaissance theatre, as well as why performing on FluxWagon and breaking the fourth wall are so important to us. Read the interview here!

*Please note there are a couple words bleeped out with asterisks in this article that, if unbleeped, would be inappropriate for young audiences!

**Please also note that the content of S.F. Theatre Pub in general is aimed at adult audiences, and some topics elsewhere on the site may  not be appropriate for kiddos.

Guess what else?

We have three more shows — including today’s 5pm performance in Pleasanton

There’s still time to donate to our Kickstarter Campaign — until late Monday night!

Aesop Amuck is Open!

The Peripatetic Players opened Aesop Amuck this past weekend with shows at DeFremery Park in Oakland and the Noe Valley Town Square in San Francisco. Next stops: Hayward at 1pm on August 8 and Glen Park, SF at 2pm on August 9. Here’s our full schedule of performances… and you can help keep us going by donating to our Kickstarter campaign! And now — pics from the show!

 

It’s Guy, Guy Hank — our NEWEST Peripatetic Player!

Photo by Rebecca Longworth.

Why hello there faithful followers! Here is our latest installment in our “behind-the-scenes/meet our players” special: Guy Hank

Guy Hank himself:

Joining the Samuel Peaches Peripatetic Players has really changed my life . . . who knew? Certainly, not me. Whew! It gets me excited just thinking about it. Let me just get right down to it. My whole life I had dreamed of performing one day on the stage. When I was younger, I saw a show that had been put up in our small town of Georgia, California. I. Was. In. Awe. Just dazzled by the magic of the story. I believe it was a production of “The Princess and the Pea” and what was just a story I glanced over in my children’s books became alive before me on the stage! I was pulled into the story. I was “bit”, as they say, by the “theatre bug.”

I just never got the chance to aspire to these dreams of mine. My Dad insisted I learn the auto mechanics trade and help build his business. I thought perhaps my dream was ridiculous and worked with him in his shop. I did, however, secretly work on my acting craft in my room reading wonderful plays and stories from around the world. I learned their lingo too – words like “blocking” and “props” and “inner monologue”. Another good thing was that since Georgia, California sees a great many travelers and tourists on their way to the beautiful sites of this Golden State, I was able to meet so many great people and hear their stories. I found that they trusted me to help get their autos to the next destination and it filled me with joy seeing them wave as they happily left our service station. Moments after they left though, I would get that sad though wishing I could travel with them.

At last, the day came when the Peripatetic Players pulled into our station on their way to their next show! They needed some minor service repairs and I jumped at the chance to work on the “Flux Wagon” and was in awe that it could transform into a magical stage to share stories from. In a casual conversation to Thumper about the troupes “props”, I relayed to her my dreams and get this – she told her brother, Samuel Peaches, about my dream, my secret studies, and petitioned on my behalf to help join the troupe! Seeing that I may come in handy working on the Flux Wagon, he invited me along!

My favorite story I’ve performed with the troupe to date has to be “Wind & the Sun”! Thumper and I get to compete with Samuel and Meekins (as the Wind) to see who can get a young chap (Princes Gwen) to take of her coat. There is movement and sound and it really takes off. However, I am dying to play the lion in the upcoming Aesop stories (Fables, I meant “fables”). I’ve been working on my roar, the Flux Wagon is running in top notch shape, and I am ready to take my acting to next level.

My favorite person to play with is everyone in the Samuel Peaches Peripatetic Player troupe! You put me with any one of those guys and I instantly come alive. Their creativity is mind boggling – it instantly gets my own creative juices flowing. Although, I have to say, Thumper and I have really good chemistry. She just gets it, you know? She has an uncanny ability to tap into whatever is happening right at that exact moment.

I would like to see the Flux Wagon pull into Georgia, California again someday so we could perform for the town. Perhaps, I could invite my Dad out so he could see what an amazing life this is! So he would know that my dreams were not ridiculous – that following your heart is the only way to go especially when you don’t know what is gonna happen. Perhaps he would be inspired by one of our stories or the morals they contain.

I knew I made it with the troupe – meaning I was “in” when after weeks of rehearsal and months of only being allowed to work on the Flux Wagon, Samuel Peaches asked me to lead a story. It has only gotten better since! I can’t wait for this show to tour near YOU, our wonderful audience! May you be dazzled and delighted and maybe even inspired!

Your Guy,

Guy Hank

Hola! Ahoj! Bonjour! from Princess Gwen!

Halo everyone! Here is our fourth installment of our “behind-the-scenes/meet our players” series: Princess Gwen!

My journey with the Samuel Peaches Peripatetic Players began on a clear, blue morning a few summers ago. As I was walking through the forest with my best friend Jay Robinson, I heard wonderful music coming through the trees! I followed this beautiful melody and I stumbled upon the Flux Wagon! Boy, was Fluxxie a wonderful sight after my trek through the forest!

Once Samuel accepted me into the Players (maybe it had something to do with the fact that I a) can skin a wild boar in under seven seconds, b) had a bag of gold, or c) I can talk to birds), my first real break (or trial by fire) came as playing Elly the Elephant in How the Elephant Got Her Trunk. As Elly, I got to wear a tutu, travel through the Limpopo River, and head off the Precession of the Equinoxes!

One of the great things about playing Elly was that Meekins played half of the silly animal duos in that story. It is always so electrifying to see what Meekins is going to come up with! Sometimes he retreats back into his memories and gets a little too intense for the kiddos, and when that happens I just let him talk to Jay Robinson and he calms back down.

I think going to the beach would calm everyone down. Don’t you think that taking Flux Wagon to the French Riviera would be amazing? Imagine Fluxxie covered in lavender and cheese! Too bad I can’t eat cheese…

Anyway, thank you all for coming on the lovely adventure with Jay Robinson and myself! I can’t wait for you all to join us one sunny weekend!

Photo by Serena Morelli.

Princess Gwen as Elly in How the Elephant Got Her Trunk in last year’s O Best Beloved.

Thumper Gets Interviewed!

Good Morning All! Here is our third installment of our “behind-the-scenes/meet our players” special: THUMPER!

Samuel Peaches managed to tear Thumper away from making the trapdoor on Flux Wagon to give this interview:

HI! MY NAME IS THUMPER. I WONDER WHAT YOUR NAME IS.

I DIDN’T HAVE TO JOIN SAMUEL PEACHES PERIPATETIC PLAYERS BECAUSE I’M SAMUEL’S SISTER, AND I STOWED AWAY IN HIS TRUNK.

SAMUEL, I HAVE A QUESTION…SAMUEL…SAMUEL…

PERIPATETIC MEANS WANDERING.

HI! MY NAME’S THUMPER. MAYBE YOU’LL TELL ME YOUR NAME AT THE SHOW!

MY FAVORITE FABLE IS CALLED THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE…

MY FAVORITE FABLE IS THE ONE WITH A LION, A WITCH AND A WARDROBE…

MY FAVORITE FABLE IS THE ONE WHERE A LION, A WITCH AND A WARDROBE…

WHAT, SAMUEL?

OK, SAMUEL.

SAMUEL JUST TOLD ME THERE IS NO FABLE WITH A LION, A WITCH AND A WARDROBE IN IT. I THINK THAT WOULD MAKE A GOOD STORY THOUGH.

HI! MY NAME IS THUMPER! YOU ALSO HAVE A NAME!

MY FAVORITE PERSON TO PLAY WITH IS THE TRAP DOOR, WHICH IS NOT ACTUALLY A PERSON, BUT A TRAP DOOR. IF I HAD TO CHOOSE SOMETHING THAT IS A PERSON, I WOULD CHOOSE PRINCESS GWEN AS PRINCESS GWEN, GUY AS GUY, SAMUEL AS MY BROTHER AND MEEKINS AS A FROG. I ALSO LOVE THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. NONE OF WHICH ARE PEOPLE. WELL, MAYBE THE WITCH. BUT SHE WOULD BE A MAGICAL PERSON, WHICH ISN’T ACTUALLY A REAL PERSON. AND THE WARDROBE IS DEFINITELY NOT A PERSON, LIKE THE TRAP DOOR.

WHAT, SAMUEL?

OK, SAMUEL.

SAMUEL WOULD LIKE ME TO MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THERE IS NO FABLE CALLED OR ABOUT OR STARRING A LION, A WITCH AND A WARDROBE IN THIS PLAY.

HI! MY NAME IS THUMPER! MAYBE YOUR NAME IS ASLAN?

I WOULD LIKE SAMUEL PEACHES PERIPATETIC PLAYERS TO PERFORM THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE.

WHAT, SAMUEL?

I KNOW WE’RE DOING AESOP AMUCK.

I AM JUST SAYING THAT THERE IS A LION IN MANY OF AESOP’S FABLES, AND I ACTUALLY THINK HE WOULD NEED A WARDROBE TO GET DRESSED IN THE MORNING. AND, A WITCH TO MAKE THE WARDROBE MAGICAL.  LIKE MY TRUNK. I DO NOT HAVE A MAGICAL WARDROBE, BUT I DO HAVE A MAGICAL TRUNK. I KNOW IT IS MAGICAL BECAUSE WHEN I WENT IN IT TO STOW AWAY, AND THEN I GOT BACK OUT, I WAS IN A WHOLE NEW WORLD.

I LOVE YOU TOO, SAMUEL.

I KNEW I MADE IT IN SAMUEL’S TROUPE WHEN I GOT TO WEAR THE PITH HELMET AND TELL THE STORY OF HOW THE RHINOCEROS GOT ITS SKIN IN OUR FIRST SHOW, O BEST BELOVED.

THE PLURAL OF RHINOCEROS IS RHINOCEROS.

Photo by Serena Morelli

Thumper with the Rhinoceros Diorama in last year’s production of O Best Beloved.

How Do We Do It?! A Time Lapse Video of Flux Wagon!

Have you ever wondered how we set up the Flux Wagon? Well, lucky for you, we have made a super-awesome time lapse video to show you!

We love sharing our stories and bringing laughter to places around the Bay Area, and we are hoping to drum up some support to transform Fluxie from the O Best Beloved wagon to the Aesop Amuck wagon.  Part of the transformation will be transfiguring our beautiful Djin dust-clouds to the Northern Winds, and morphing our jungle tree into a willow!

If you are in the Bay Area and have nothing to do on Saturday, July 25th, why not stop by FluxFest ’15?!  FluxFest’15 is going to be a block-party, carnival, kick-back, fundraising party! We will have a photobooth, carnival games, some singing and dancing, and just a general good time!

DETAILS:

Saturday, July 25, 4pm – 9ish // OPEN HOUSE – come any time!

Main Street Theatre // 915 Cayuga Ave at Ocean Ave, SF

Suggested donation $5 – $15

Click here to RSVP on Facebook, and keep looking to the horizon for more fundraising opportunities soon!

Character Profile: Frogs!!!

image

Illustration by Sam Bertken

How did this frog get so big? Through her own folly, I’m afraid…

She’s from The Frogs and the Ox, and she’s trying to make herself as big as an ox. It doesn’t turn out well.

In fact, the frogs always seem to be coming up with bad ideas… Like, for instance, in The Frogs Who Wished for a King or The Frog and the Mouse. Unlike the mice, who come up with bad ideas after a lot of thought and deliberation in their mouse councils, the frogs just don’t seem to think things through. Naturally, this leads to plenty of mishaps for the frogs.

The frogs are also scared of everything, perhaps with good reason considering all the misfortune that befalls them. They run for their lives in The Hares and the Frogs and The Boys and the Frogs.

What with all that running in fear and being prone to mishaps, we see some great opportunities for slapstick. That might be why the Frog sections of Aesop Amuck are some of the most hilarious to rehearse.

Here’s a little taste of our rehearsal shenanigans

Aesop Online

Thanks to the Library of Congress, many of Aesop’s fables are online in a gorgeous, interactive edition with illustrations by Milo Winter.

Google Books also has many electronic editions of Aesop collections, including a free public domain volume illustrated by Harrison Weir.

There’s a searchable collection at www.aesopfables.com, which also includes fairy tales from Hans Christian Andersen and others. This is likely the most extensive collection, and you’ll find many fables that are nearly identical but with slight variations in the details.

Who was Aesop anyway? Wikipedia can tell you a little more about who he might have been. But no writings attributed directly to “Aesop” survive. We do know that many philosophers and poets, including Aristophanes and Sophocles, knew of Aesop’s stories; Sophocles composed some of them into verse poems. We also know Aesop didn’t write down any of the morals; the lesson of each story was thought to be clear without articulating it, but later authors have added them and today we recognize many familiar aphorisms in the morals of “Aesop’s Fables.”

And for more images, head to Wikimedia Commons for a wealth of public domain illustrations from historical editions of the fables.

Happy exploring!

Wenceslas_Hollar_-_The_jay_and_the_peacocks

A Wenceslas Hollar illustration found at Wikimedia Commons

Rehearsal Report #1!

Hi Everyone!  Marlene (Princess Gwen) reporting in here.

In t-minus 2.5 hours we will be having our first full rehearsal with the full company, and I couldn’t be more excited! The energy with the troupe is so amazing, and to finally have everyone present is going to super stupendous.

So far we’ve been working on a skeleton outline of what Aesop Amuck is going to look like, and how each fable will flow into the other. We’ve also been exploring more moments for audience interaction and games, and I can tell that one game is going to — well…. you’ll just have to come and see the show to find out!

Lastly, if you want an inside peak into my brain, I’ve created a Pandora shuffle station between “Hot Club Jazz” (listen to some Django Reinhardt) and “Bluegrass”-eqsue (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, anyone?) — it helps to put me in my groove!

Well, I have to keep getting ready for today’s rehearsal — Au revoir!

Marlene
PS. You can catch Princess Gwen on the following media platforms:
-Twitter @peripateticgwen
-Instagram @peripateticgwen
-Email @ princessgwen.peripateticplayer@gmail.com

PPS. Here is a picture of Princess Gwen playing around as the Country Mouse (from my own Instagram):