Monday, October 18, 2010

The Saga of Tortoise and the Hare

I must really like this Aesop's fable because I've adapted it for the stage three times.

The first time was in 1996 when I was directing children's shows at Miss Mella's Drama Theatre. Because I had no idea how many children would come out for auditions, I needed the script to be flexible in terms of number of cast members. I also needed it to last about 45 minutes. So Adaptation 1 was included in the script Four Fables of Aesop, which could have a cast of 6-25, or more. The Tortoise and the Hare portion included other animals in the forest--Tortoise was polite to them and Hare was rude.

Goodness, Adaptation 1 got performed at Miss Mella's Drama Theatre, Abiqua Elementary, Children's Educational Theatre, and Chemeketa Community College (with adults performing for childen).

Adaptation 1.5 (2009) was a Spanish/English version. My husband translated it then directed it at Grant Elementary. The kids had to work hard to flip back and forth between Spanish and English. They were great.

Adaptation 2 came about in 2006. It was an interactive two-person play for adults to perform for children. And we have definitely performed it a lot since it was created. Either me and my husband, me and my daughter, my husband and my son, or my husband and my daughter. I prefer to play Tortoise and let my children play energetic Hare. When my husband and I perform, we fight over who must play Hare. (I think it's my turn to play Tortoise!)

Adaptation 3 happened just the other week when I wrote a script for two children to perform the tale. Several years back, a woman wondered if we had any two-person scripts for children because her granddaughters loved to act out stories. It took me awhile to get around to it, but I did it. And the first two-person kid script is yet another adaptation of The Tortoise and the Hare. (it's posted on the Cwerks website; free download, along with a Stage Terms sheet:

I love the Hares I got for Adaptation 1. They've always been quite energetic, always running around the stage, speaking quickly (but clearly), and bursting out into laughter--that's not easy for a young actor. But they've always managed it.

The Tortoises take a special type. It takes someone who can speak and walk slowly without sounding or looking like a video in slow-motion. (Try it; it's not so easy). I remember my first Tortoise...Oh, my gosh! I saw her the other day and she's now an adult, working her way through college...or was she done with college? And she's participating in the community theater. Wow.

My speed seems to be Tortoise-like; whereas, time keeps running like the Hare.

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