The theatre department is bringing Mowgli, Baloo and Bagheera to life with this year’s family theatre production of “Jungle Book Tales,” stories from Rudyard Kipling’s classic children’s book. Shows are on Friday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 3, at 4 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre. Children from area schools will watch the show every Tuesday and Thursday at noon until Nov. 12.
Adapted and directed by theatre professor Jeff Taylor, “Jungle Book Tales” tells the story of Mowgli, a boy who is being raised by wolves in the jungles of India. Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther guide him as he learns about friends, enemies and pack loyalty. The one-hour production will include vine-swinging Bandar-logs (monkeys) and puppetry for the characters of Cheel the hawk and Kaa the snake.
“This is a very enthralling story,” Taylor said. “Kipling uses sophisticated language, directed toward children, to address harsh realities of life and how children and adults alike can survive them by following a code of honor with loving and loyal friends.”
“Most people are familiar with the Disney animated movie version,” Taylor said, “but to see these stories acted out by real people makes these stories more powerful.”
This production is bringing some new and old faces to the theater stage.
“They all do a wonderful job of interpreting the characters and bringing them to life,” Taylor said. “I have enjoyed working with such a creative team of student designers, too. They have taken the designs beyond what I could imagine.”
“I read the script, and I was so enamored. I wanted so much to be part of this production,” said freshman theater major Abby Bierly, who plays Mowgli’s wolf-mother. “This is my first college theater experience, and I am very excited. Every moment of this experience has been above and beyond what I ever imagined.”
Taylor and Bierly both said there is plenty to anticipate in this production.
“This story will be a delight to the audiences but has potential to get the audience thinking about real life issues,” Taylor said.
Bierly said she enjoys performing because it is a means for people to temporarily escape reality.
“This is such a fun story,” Bierly said. “There are laughs, tears, hugs and more than a few growls that are sure to entertain.”