By Sarah Valek
Pirates rarely cease to entertain, and the bearded, striped-shirt adorned mateys in Talespinner Children’s Theatre’s latest production — Aesop’s Pirate Adventure — don’t disappoint. Set on a minimalist stage and using few props, TCT creates an island adventure based on three pirates looking for treasure who, in turn, end up learning important life morals, Aesop’s Fables style.
Really, the pirate story is a great springboard for introducing different Aesop’s Fables and their corresponding morals. Treasure-seeking pirates get trapped on an island, act badly and are transformed by the mythical island ladies into different Aesop’s Fables stories. The pirates must learn their lessons in order to end the story. The stories themselves are entertaining and funny (pirates get turned into frogs, donkeys, etc.) and there is a kernel of knowledge to be gleaned from each one, which the pirates make obvious.
As with most shows at TCT, there are lessons about kindness, not having too much pride and not judging others but, unlike many kids TV shows, these lessons aren’t cheesy or sentimental. And the lessons aren’t just for kids — they’re for everyone.
But TCT shows aren’t about laying on “a lesson” — they’re about good, quality entertainment. It is no easy feat getting an audience of kids to sit still and pay attention for upwards of 40 minutes, but TCT shows — and especially Aesop’s Pirate Adventure — does the trick.
My son, now 6, went with a group of friends ranging from age 2 to 5. All were enthralled the whole show, which including plenty of audience participation (hand clapping, call-and-response, “let us know if you see the island”). After all, the audience wasn’t simply an audience; we were part of the crew.
Kids of all ages will enjoy Aesop’s Pirate Adventure. It’s fun, captivating and humorous (my son was cracking up half the time and I was laughing along with him). It’s good to see more and more people have discovered Talespinner and are realizing just what an asset it is to the community.
Aesop’s Pirate Adventure runs Fri, Sat and Sun through Sun 4/27. Showtimes are Fridays 7pm; Saturdays 2 & 7pm; Sundays 2pm.
Cool Cleveland editor Sarah Valek studied art and writing at Ithaca College. After graduation, she came back to Cle and served two years as an AmeriCorps*VISTA with the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. She can be found on all sides of the city in pursuit of homeschooling activities for her son and the perfect soy latte. Contact her at CoolEditorATCoolCleveland.com or via Twitter.