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'Aesop's Fables:' Improv with a Moral

We all know Aesop's fables: the tortoise and the hare, the fox and the grapes, the boy who cried wolf, and other children's stories involving some sort of important lesson or moral. These stories, favorites among children of all ages, are being brought to life in a new rendition of the famous fables, created fully by improvisation and being toured around the county by Robert E. Lee's drama department.

A commonly-produced children's theatre piece, Aesop's Fables has been written and rewritten countless times. Lee's department is adding to that number by writing their own show, comprised of 16 popular fables hand-picked by the cast. Each scene is being created completely by improvisation. Cast member sophomore Lea Cookson said, "It's fun because you can use more creativity than you can in most shows."

This improvisation is what has led to the creation of the script. After being cast as individual characters, the actors are working together to decide the best way to present each fable. The show is being scripted based on these original ideas. Darek Baczewski (junior), another cast member, said, "It's nice to be one of the people who is creating the play, rather than just doing something that's already been done." The actors all share the same sentiment — they are very excited to be able to perform the product of their own imaginations.

They are also excited to be expanding their skills by doing work they never have before. "Working as animals is a new experience for most of the cast members. It's entirely different physically," said assistant director Jackie Southee, a junior who played a dog in Lee's children's play last year, "Wiley and the Hairy Man."