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.
When we first meet the Lion, we know he’s impressive as the King of the Forest… but even he can learn from his mistakes. To play the lion. an actor must have a strong presence and and even stronger ROAR… He’ll be hunting, but he might also become the hunted!
There are plenty of stories about animals trying to imitate the lordly lion, but we’ve selected just a couple stories in which the lion gets to show the more complicated sides of his character. Any actor would be eager to sink teeth into this meaty role… making it the perfect fit for our own leader and impressario, Samuel Peaches.
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 Kingor 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.
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.
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.
With a ton of fables featuring Mice, you can be sure that Mice will have a starring role in the Peripatetic Players’s Aesop Amuck!
The Mice in Aesop’s Fables always seem to be having councils. They have a lot of important decisions to make, like how to get away from the Cat, or to better organize their mouse armies. And of course there’s songs to be sung… But we’ll let that be a surprise.
Stay tuned for more character profiles, and more fabulous drawings from Mr Bertken (a.k.a. Meekins)!
During August 2015, the Samuel Peaches Peripatetic Players — that madcap troupe of travelling thespians who brought you O Best Beloved — will take the show on the road once more in Aesop Amuck.
2015 Bay Area Parks Tour:
Saturdays and Sundays, August 1 – 23
Aesop Amuck is the Peripatetic Players’s adaptation of Aesop’s fables. It’s fun for the whole family, decidedly fabulous, marvellously moralistic, and at least 300% educational!
Grab the kids, throw on some sunscreen (or, if in SF, pack a parka), and head out to the nearest park or public space! The Peripatetic Players will arrive 30 to 60 minutes before showtime to set up FluxWagon, their folding mobile stage. Shows last just under an hour, and are full of songs, pratfalls and theatrical mayhem.