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Internationally acclaimed, award winning
puppet, mask, and musical performances since 1979


Magical Moonshine Theatre School Programs

(Note, for a PDF version of this catalogue that you can browse or print out, with table of contents, page numbers, etc., click here)

Magical Moonshine Theatre has over 30 years of experience in presenting assembly programs in California schools, in addition to mainstage performances coast to coast in the US and in 18 countries around the world. Recipients of numerous awards and honors for their original plays for youth, the company is know for consistent excellence and reliability. Educators routinely refer to MMT productions as the best they have seen. When you get a MMT assembly you are getting the original founders and creative artists performing for your students. For more information about any of our programs or to secure a date, contact Magical Moonshine Theatre at 707-363-4573 or send us an email.

Answers to some frequently asked questions: technical needs, assessibility, program length, etc.

Animal Folktales of the Americas

Note to school programmers: Our award winning Animal Folktales of the Americas is a constantly growing series of programs as opposed to a single title. A school assembly program generally consists of one or two titles as some titles are about 20-25 minutes long, and others 45-50 minutes. Two shorter titles are usually paired to create a 45-50 minute program, although 30 minute programs are available for younger audiences.

Animal Folktales of the Americas, Series Description:
The oral traditions and literature of North, South, and Central America are rich with humorous and instructive stories about our furred, feathered, and scaled neighbors. "Animal Folktales of the Americas" is a celebration of the cultural richness that we enjoy on our two American continents.
Using original, large scale puppets, masks and live music and song, the internationally known Magical Moonshine Theatre presents an ever growing collection of original dramas based on traditional folktales which may include anything from a story from the Andes Mountains about how the fox and the condor brought food to the earth, a tale from the Bering Strait area about a fox and caribou who decide to exchange legs, a Native American story about Coyote, Mountain Ram and Grizzly Bear, some of the exploits of Br'er Rabbit, a tale of an Armadillo family, to a Mexican version of Aesop's Fables.
In addition to the dramatics and staging unique to the puppet and mask theatre, the stories are enriched with live music played on instruments ranging from the modern to the ancient; from the accordion to the traditional charango and zamponia from Peru, the American banjo, and the Native American drums and flute.

Animalitos (the little animals)- -A collection of Aesop's fables woven together in a magical puppet dance. A rabbit starts a race with a tortoise, but seeing that he has plenty of time, he wanders off, and gets involved with a fox who is trying to court a crane with a romantic dinner for two. With some clever tricks they manage to get some food to serve but things go awry when the fox talks the rabbit into being the waiter for the meal. Meanwhile the tortoise is getting closer and closer to the finish line.....

The Armadillo's Rancho- This story from Argentina tells of a wealthy Fox who tries to take advantage of a poor Armadillo, making her work his garden for him. He thinks he is getting the best part of the deal, but the Armadillo is smarter than he is at every turn and in the end succeeds in setting things right once and for all.

The Fox and Elk Make a Trade- -In this story a fox and elk decide that they are not happy with the way they are made, so they decide to switch arms and legs with each other. The fox, now with very long arms and legs, finds that she can no longer hunt, and is in danger of starving. The elk with the short fox arms and legs can not reach the leaves on the trees that he is used to eating. Both finally realize that they were much better off the way they were originally and in the end exchange arms and legs again, happy to have their old limbs back. The story is humorously set to music reminiscent of pop tunes of the ‘50s.

The Fox and the Condor- In this mythological story from South America, there is little food on the earth while in the clouds the birds have much food. The Condor, the king of the birds takes pity on a hungry fox and carries him up to the clouds to eat, but the greedy fox does not stop eating until he falls from the cloud and his belly bursts open, spreading seeds all over the earth. It is these seeds from which the plants on earth have descended (so the tale tells us.)

Coyote and Grizzly Bear-
Native Americans of the Western part of this continent tell many stories about the trickster, Coyote. In this story from the plains states, Coyote plays a trick on the ungrateful Grizzly Bear, thus saving the life of Mountain Ram. Although p resented as a Native American folktale here, the theme of this story is universal, and appears in tales from many cultures around the world. This folktale is told with masks and Native American flute and drum.

Coyote Sings- In the Native American story, Coyote Sings, the crazy buffoon, Coyote tries desperately to learn a song. This combined with his bungling attempts to hunt for food and impress all his neighbors with his personal skills make for hilarious slapstick. Southwest motifs and designs and Mexican folk tunes make this bilingual show a very popular addition.

Br'er Rabbit and the Number Nine Shoes-In this African American trickster tale, the clever Br'er Rabbit plays a trick on Br'er Bear, and steals his fish from him. Br'er Fox watches the whole trick, but when he tries it himself his efforts end in disaster. Once again Br'er Rabbit survives by relying on his wits. The story is told with large, direct-manipulation puppets, live banjo music and singing.

Brer Rabbit and the Goober Patch-Another trickster, Brer Rabbit comes to us from Africa, but has settled right in to American Folklore. In this puppet tale, Brer (short for Brother) Fox decides to plant a garden, and Br'er Rabbit decides to help himself. The fox decides to set a trap for the rabbit but Brer Rabbit is one rabbit who can take care of himself, and Br'er Fox does not end up with the prey that he bargained for.

How the Dragon Got His Horns

In this Chinese/American tale, Rooster loans his horns to dragon who never returns them. This story is told with Chinese style shadow puppets and paper cut outs and usually culminates in an audience assisted dragon dance with our 30 foot dragon puppet (pictured above.)

Does That Scare You?- a Southeast Asian Folktale from the Hmong people. -Long ago a wise, old man lived with a Bear, a Tiger and a Dragon. One day the animals all set out to try to scare one another by seeing who could make the greatest commotion. When the man finally took his turn, he used his brains to teach th e others a lesson. He scared the animals so badly that bears, tigers and dragons will no longer live with people. The story is presented with shadow puppets, masks, and live music played on a variety of SE Asian musical instruments.

Coyote Brings Fire to the People- It is told that long ago when the earth was new, the people of California were cold because they did not have fire. They went to Coyote for help and he organized Bear, Mountain Lion, Rabbit, Squirrel, and Frog to help steal fire for the people. Magical Moonshine Theatre presents this native Californian folktale with shadow puppets and music.


Other Productions:

Shipwrecked! The Adventures of Miss Robin Crusoe

In this literature inspired adventure tale, Robin Crusoe (the niece of the famous Robinson Crusoe) is shipwrecked on a deserted island and must survive using her wits. Armed only with a few washed up parts of her ship and what she can find on the island, she manages to use basic mechanical skills to hoist her ship up from the ocean floor and save herself and her new mischievous monkey friend from the island before the volcano blows or pirates return. This humorous, edge of the seat adventure story demonstrates the virtues of bravery again all odds as well as the knowledge of some useful mechanical skills and devices. This is science and literature bound together in a whopping good musical yarn with a surprise ending (not to mention the beautiful textile scenery by California artist Meri Vahl)!
Take a virtual tour of this beautiful show:


Other School Programs

Artist in Schools Workshops and Residencies:

Magical Moonshine Theatre artists Michael and Valerie Nelson are designated California Arts Council Artists in the Schools. Their teaching and workshop presenting activities are as diverse as a 45 minute workshop to 1/2 day, day long, week long, month or all school year with curriculum based on the California Performing Arts Standards.


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