Tabor getting into ‘The Jungle Book’

Tabor Theater will delight both children and adults with a unique production of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” adapted for the stage by Ethan Koerner and directed by Laurel Koerner.

Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Feb. 28, March 1 and March 2; with 3 p.m. performances on March 2 and March 3 in the Prieb Harder Theater within the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts.

Laurel Koerner said Tabor’s production will be unique with the inclusion of puppets and masked actors to tell the familiar story.

“With the students we have right now, we wanted to seize the opportunity to leverage their energy and creativity and their interest in puppetry and mask work,” Koerner said. ”One of the magical things about puppetry is that it allows you to shift scale, similar to what film can do with zooming out and zooming in, so we can play with a giant elephant puppet in the show.”

Koerner’s cast list includes 14 student actor-puppeteers with Janna Smith contributing as stage manager. Technical director Ethan Koerner is overseeing puppet creation.

“The cast is helping build the masks and puppets, so they’re learning some applied crafts as well,”

Laurel Koerner said. “It’s special to have a group that is really seeing this thing through, from being part of the rewrites to helping create the masks and puppets themselves, to doing research on animal movement and behavior and all the way through to performing it for an audience.

“I’m looking forward after the performance to actually bring the puppets back out on stage and let people get a closer look, and try their hand at manipulating them,” Koerner added.

The production is expected to run about an hour and 15 minutes.

“We want young people and children to come, we want families to know they can bring their kids to the show — which is part of why it’s a short show, and why we’re doing a couple of matinees and a 7 p.m. performance so we can get them home for bedtime.”

Koerner added, “I hope adults don’t think it’s a puppet show for kids, and that they wouldn’t enjoy it. Something really interesting about the show is that it will break assumptions about what puppetry is and what it can do.”

The Prieb Harder Theater has limited seating, so purchasing tickets in advance is recommended. Tickets are $5 for students, $8 for general admission and $10 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online at tabor.edu/tickets. For more information, call 620-947-3121, ext. 1401.

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