Senior theatre majors, Yuika Ida and Huiyu Lin, will be featured in the NW theatre production of “Asian Folk Tales.”
Ida is from Tottori-ken, Japan, and Lin is from Yilan City, Taiwan. Theatre professor, Karen Bohm Barker, wanted both girls to be highlighted. Subsequently, a collection of folk tales from their homelands were selected. Folk tales from Korea were also chosen.
“It seemed to me it would be a waste of their resources, with their cultural backgrounds and their abilities,” said Barker. Ida is acting in the production, and Lin is designing costumes with both traditional Asian and anime style for the cast.
A total of six stories will be presented. The themes of the stories presented are similar to folk tales from Western culture.
“What parents are trying to tell their children about morals is the same,” said Barker. “We value the same things; hopefully that will be loud and clear.”
The show begins with a Taiwanese folk tale called “The Frog in the Well.” “It’s about seeing how large the world is,” Barker said. “It is our hope that when all the elementary students come to see the play, they will see the world is bigger than Northwest Iowa.”
The lobby is going to have a display that will hopefully emphasize how immense and diverse the world is, with displays of Asian-cultured decorations and music.
“We would love to see elementary schools become inspired by the performance and start a Haiku unit in their school,” Barker said.
The performance will end with “Story Spirits,” a folk tale from Korea. This tale is about a man who is haunted by spirits because he never shared the stories he heard as a child. “‘Story Spirits’ will hopefully encourage students to tell their stories,” Barker said.
“Most of the visuals will come from the costumes and the staging itself,” said Barker. “Also the lights will be pretty magical.” Sophomore Andrew Stam has painted a map of the three Asian countries on the floor of the performing center.
“We are hoping the lack of scenery works to our advantage,” Barker said. “It helps the children see that it doesn’t take fancy stuff to tell a good story.”
The cast will be performing Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 2 at 4 p.m. in the Allen Theatre’s Black Box. The production is also being shown to schoolchildren every Tuesday and Thursday from Sept. 30 to Nov. 11.