By Wendy Carson
This is the story of the Great Indiana Squirrel Stampede of 1822 (not to be confused with the Great Ohio Squirrel Stampede of 1819). As zany as this musical is, it is inspired by actual historical events.
What is believed to have led up to this catastrophe is a combination of the migratory paths of black squirrels, the encroachment of humans into their territories and these humans’ alteration of the land from forests to farmland, leaving the squirrels without access to their natural food sources.
While the above explanation was nigh on impossible for those affected to wrap their head around, many crazy theories arose as to what caused this disaster. These theories are mined for gold by playwright and star Julie Lyn Barber and the other actors to your sheer delight. Especially the younger actors, Sophia and Sage Barber Murrell. Their performances are worth the whole ticket price to see.
Biblical lore, Native prophecies, cautionary tales, even weresquirrels are included for your amusement. Just remember that natural events like those shown here are possible and cyclic — it is entirely possible that another such uprising could occur. So, watch, laugh, and maybe even learn a thing or two so we may be prepared for their next attack.
Performances are Friday and Sunday, Aug. 26 and 28, at the Indy Eleven Theatre. Info and tickets at indyfringefestival.com.