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Orono Community Theatre presents Tales of Trickery'

April 24, 2013
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ORONO The trickster is a central part of almost every culture's lore. Not only does the idea allow for some pretty important morality lessons, but it can make for a pretty great story too.

Orono Community Theatre is presenting 'Tales of Trickery' by Kim Alan Wheetly. The children's show offers two performances on April 27 one at 10:30 AM and one at 2 PM and a 2 PM showing on April 28, all at the Keith Anderson Center in Orono. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under.

'Tales of Trickery' is an adaptation of three traditional Indonesian folk tales. The first is 'The Widow and the Wealthy Neighbor.' It tells the story of a poor widow whose prayers for wealth are answered, much to the chagrin of her rich neighbor. We soon see that the gods are more inclined to help the selfless than the selfish.

'The Monkey and the Barong' also gives us a look at the adverse impact of greed. The Monkey and the Barong (who is the biggest animal in the jungle) are the best of friends, despite their seeming differences. However, when the Barong finds the sweetest banana tree there ever was, the Monkey allows his selfishness to come before his friendship.

In the final tale, 'The Buffalo and the Bell,' a simple farmer is ordered by his shrewish wife to go out and sell the family buffalo. However, a local cheat and his compatriots devise a scheme to swindle the farmer out of his livestock. The farmer has to figure out a way to get the money he is owed from the greedy thieves and with a little help, he just might do it.

'Tales of Trickery' is the sort of show that will delight a young audience. The six actors (Elaine Bard, Tom Boss, Louise Jolliffe, Elsa Jolliffe-Saunders, Rose Ross and Bill Wolfe) bring each tale to life in a delightful and distinct way. The fun that's being had on the stage is infectious; each performer has a wonderful energy that gives the show a lovely lightness. 

The costumes are wonderful; brightly colored costumes and elaborately rendered masks are abundant as well as some striking make-up; it all makes for quite an engaging scene. Adding to the mood are a wealth of sound effects generated right there on stage by Donna Slopey. It all comes together in an immersive experience sure to capture the imagination.

In addition, the show includes a gamelan orchestra, representing a traditional Indonesian music ensemble. The six musicians are Matt Dube, James Hadley, Steve Hodgdon, Josh Jones, Tiffany Twitchell and Sandy Cyrus (who also serves as the production's director and designer, by the way).

'Tales of Trickery' is exactly what children's theater should be it is fun and easily understood without being condescending. It's a chance for parents and children to have a good time together; a weekend visit to the Keith Anderson Center offers fun for the whole family.

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