This is part of IndyFringe 2022, Aug. 18-Sept. 4 (individual performance times vary) in downtown Indianapolis. Details and tickets at IndyFringe.org.
By John Lyle Belden
Local youth ensemble Agape Theater Company goes with something more whimsical than their usual serious projects with “Sing Down the Moon: Appalachian Wonder Tales,” a musical by Mary Hall Surface and David Maddux that presents familiar fairy tales as they would be told in the mountains of rural Virginia or North Carolina.
This show is also a little different for Agape as it highlights its younger performers, which enhances the innocent fun of the stories’ presentation. In this production, we get three tales you’ve heard before, but not quite like this:
In “Jack and the Wonder Bean,” directed by Brynn Hensley, crafty Jack (Rachel Majorins) climbs the beanstalk to encounter a huge Giantess (Anastasia Lucia, with puppet support by Nate and Jacob Osburn) and escapes back home to his Ma (Harmony Quinn), bringing goods including a magic Hen (Caroline Hildebrand) and enchanted Fiddle (Evangeline Hillebrand).
In the hoe-down song-and-dance number “The Sow and Her Three Pigs,” directed by Kiron Branine and Rebekah Barajas, narrators Ellie Barajas and Rachel Majorins tell of a Mama-pig (Laney Ballard) who worries what her offspring will do after she is gone. Martha (Nora Moster) and Mary (Joanna Barajas) go cheap on building materials, while Nancy (Eden Majorins) finds something even stronger than bricks. Here comes the Fox (Flannery Partain), hungry for bacon. The simple set includes a cloud-wagon for deceased piggies to sit on while awaiting their relatives’ fate, while most of the cast get involved in the do-si-dos (the dance, not the cookie).
Finally, we get the Cinderella variant, “Catskins,” directed by Grant Scott-Miller. An orphan girl (Lacey Pierce) finds a home with a Farmer (Aubri Cottrell) and his Wife (Harmony Quinn). When the Wife dies, the Farmer, embittered by grief, becomes abusive. The spirit of her adopted mother comes to Catskins’ aid with the help of a magic trunk, and the girl ends up a servant to a fine Lady (Anastasia Lucia) and her Daughter (Flannery Partain). It happens that in that land, a Rich Boy (Jacob Osburn) is holding fancy dances to find himself a bride. Our heroine is a bit crafty and doesn’t need talking mice to help her in this interesting version of the old tale.
The presentation is fun and entertaining, and the Giantess puppet is impressive. Remaining performances are 1:45 p.m. Saturday and 5:15 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27-28, in the Basile Auditorium at the Athenaeum.