Children's theatre production of Aesop's Fables
The Arches stage adaptation of classic tales
Like many of us, Belle Jones first came across Aesop’s Fables as a child. ‘My grandparents gave me a really lovely copy of the collected tales when I was young,’ recalls the Glasgow-based actress and director. ‘There’s so much variety in the fables, and the morals and guidelines for life are explained in a very accessible way for children. I’ve always thought they’d lend themselves really well to theatre.’
Now that she’s all grown up, Jones is doing exactly that, bringing several of Aesop’s most popular tales to the Arches. The first task was choosing which ones to stage. Perennial favourites such as The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Town Mouse and Country Mouse and The Wind and the Rain made it to the final cut – while others were deemed less appropriate.
‘I read through all the tales and some of them are completely irrelevant now,’ says Jones, ‘and some are racist or very sexist. So I chose some that everybody knows, but also a few lesser-known ones like The Jackdaw, which I’d completely forgotten about and only just re-discovered.’
Jones and her fellow performers are using a range of techniques to bring the tales to life, including a variety of puppet styles, and actors dressed in an imaginative array of animal costumes. Aesop’s Fables may be some of the oldest tales in the world, but that doesn’t mean they can’t brush off their BC image and take on a 21st-century slant.
‘Our version of the Tortoise and the Hare has a modern twist to it,’ explains Jones, ‘with the tortoise on a skateboard and the hare on a space hopper, to make it fresh again.’
The Arches, Glasgow, Thu 30 Jun–Sat 2 Jul