“The Jungle Book,” a play adapted for children by playwright Kathryn Schultz Miller, is being performed by MHCC theatre arts students for local children to enjoy and be drawn to, making it a great event for families with young ones.
Borrowing from the book by Rudyard Kipling published in 1894, the Children’s Theatre Workshop show is about a boy, Mowgli, who is raised by wolves when he is forced to leave his jungle home in India because of a vicious tiger who threatens him.
This sends Mowgli on a journey with a sensible panther named Bagheera, and a humorous bear, Baloo. He meets many different animals throughout his adventure as they come together and form one big team and embrace their wild lifestyle.
The MHCC audience will get taken on an adventure while the Mt. Hood actors transform themselves into wild animals from the story. The cast seems to maintain strong focus despite having to account for 400 young children, and the actors aren’t afraid to go beyond the stage as they chase Mowgli around the auditorium.
Joining in a game of hide-and-seek, children in the audience will be sure to shout out and give away any of the hiding actors to the others, making it fun and interactive. The costumes are colorful and creative as one of the actors is transformed into a devious python who hypnotizes the other animals. The set captures the essence of the deep jungles of Madhya Pradesh in India, with its moving vines, bushes, and shrubs – something that looks like the theatre students had a lot of fun designing.
There are really fun effects with lighting that make the walls appear to move with a glow. There’s also a vulture who swarms the audience, making kids jump with excitement.
The show is long enough to cover the original story, yet short enough to maintain everyone’s attention. The actors seem to bring the better-known jungle animals to the stage, so no one’s favorite animal gets left out. The porcupine’s costume makes the audience gasp as the character appears on stage showing off its prickly back, and the elephants inspire a unique costume idea for Halloween next year.
While several weekday morning performances in the College Theatre are reserved for area school groups (note: MHCC students and staff are invited to slip into empty seats), there’s one showing for the general public at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18.
All tickets are $2, for sale at the door, or in advance from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the MHCC Performing Arts office, Room AC2134 on the Gresham campus.