The creative cauldron presents Aesop’s fables, a production featuring students handpicked from among their Learning theater studio. This talented young ensemble is led by Laura Connors Hall, who also adapted this precious piece especially for them. With the support of a few professional actors, the cast brings audiences a fun review of beloved fables and offers an evening of family entertainment.
With Creative Cauldron being a particularly intimate space (it’s a black box theater), the Learning Theater Studio hasn’t been able to put on a live performance in the past 21 months. Even now, they enforce strict safety protocols, running shows at 50 percent capacity so audience members can be socially distanced, and they need masks, along with proof of vaccination or proof. negative COVID test carried out within 72 hours of the visit. While the space may be small, you can be sure that every precaution has been taken to ensure everyone’s safety. The entire cast is also masked, although you wouldn’t know it – in what is by far the most vivid technical element, set designer and costume designer Margie Jervis created gorgeous headdresses for the cast using wire mesh. , felt, feathers, furs, and more! While the headdresses are large and intricate, and the actors all wear medical-grade masks underneath, their collective diction is crystal clear – quite a feat, given the task. This can only be a testament to the management and the fantastic advice that has undoubtedly been given to them.
The cast takes you through a collection of classic fables, including fun and 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 and nuanced performances. For example, Knapp is majestic and Shakespearean like Mr. Owl for The tortoise and the hare, and Stevenson commands the stage as Lion for The lion and the mouse. With nine fables in total, my favorites were Ants and the grasshopper and The city mouse and the field mouse.
Lorien Jackson is a nonchalant grasshopper who is hungry and cold after failing to properly prepare for winter and must turn to a group of ants for help – the same group of ants he ridiculed earlier for working too hard. Audrey Burke is awesome as Lead Ant, and Ben Graham is super funny as Grandpa Ant, who enjoys munching on tire-sized Cheeto crumbs. Lorien Jackson and Millie Owens are sophisticated urban mice who want a break from their noisy and stressful lifestyle. They reach out to their country cousins, Carmen Ortiz and Elaina Rosenberger, hoping for a visit. As it turns out, the field mice are bored and yearning for a bit of excitement, and so the couples decide to move to a new home for a respite – with hilarious and insightful consequences for both of them.
Creative cauldron Aesop’s fables was a very pleasant evening! I would particularly recommend it to families, especially those with children who are interested in theater and theater. I have found that children especially enjoy watching young actors, their own peers, on stage – it is an exciting and inspiring experience for them, and will not be forgotten anytime soon.
Duration: 90 minutes, without intermission.
COVID Security: Masks and social distancing are required as well as proof of vaccination or proof of negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of visit. Accommodation is available for students under the age of 12.
A wellness podcast from theater makers Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith interview with Kendall Mostafavi