Korty, Carol. Plays From African Folktales. Players Press. ISBN 0-88734-659-6. 97 pp. A 3-6 Reviewed by Athena Madan An anthology of four African tales adapted for the stage, African Folktales would be fun for children to perform. The script is complete with ideas for costumes, makeup, music, masks, and intermittent interludes. There is much movement, music, and sound with ideas that are amusing and magical but educational. In addition, the fun-loving characters (mostly animals) are clearly more clever than their silly, half-witted human counterparts. The short lines are reinforced with movement, making them easy for children to memorize. Korty's easy-to-follow suggestions are thorough, ranging from simple to elaborate, though presented in such a way that the performance would not be limited to these suggestions. The play requirements themselves are simple and flexible. For an elementary teacher with limited theatre experience, this book would be a useful reference. Following is a brief synopsis of each of the African tales: The Man Who Loved to Laugh. A happy-hearted Man saves a snake from an unjust death and is rewarded with a feather that will give him the magical ability to hear animals talk. Only there is one condition: if he tells anyone about this ability, he will die. Through the events that follow, this tale teaches indirectly the importance of happiness, understanding, and trust. Mr. Hare Takes Mr. Leopard for a Ride. Nonchalant Mr. Hare decides to teach Mr. Leopard a lesson in being polite, even if he is big. For this pair, brain is bigger than brawn. Ananse's Trick Does Double Work. Ananse uses uncertified fear against Old Hag to lure his industrious friends into giving him all their food instead of selling it at the market. But soon his friends discover that their loss is Ananse's gain, and they devise a plan for him to get their goods back. The Turtle Who Wanted to Fly. Wistful Turtle sings his plaintive plight. He can't run very fast, swim very far, or dance very well. All he can do is sing. But what he really wants to do more than anything else is fly! He befriends two pigeons, discovers that flying isn't all it's touted to be, and realizes it's pretty good to be his singing-turtle-self after all.
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