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Play: A Fable Jean-Claude van Itallie A FABLE A Collaborative Piece Written by Jean-Claude van Itallie Music composed by Richard Peaslee Originally created collaboratively with Director: Joseph Chaikin And actors: Joyce Aaron, Shami Chaikin, Bernard Duffy, Murray Moss, Tina Shepard, Margo Lee Sherman, Charles Stanley, Paul Zimet. This piece was conceived during the summer of 1974. Work with the actors began in February 1975. The first performance was at Lenox, Massachusetts at the Lenox Arts Festival at Wheatleigh (Lyn Austin, producer). After ten days of open rehearsal "A Fable" opened in New York City at the Exchange Theatre in the Westbeth Artists Housing Building on October 18, 1975, again sponsored by the Lenox Arts Festival. PRODUCTION NOTE The Marketplace scene and the Last Scene of the Play, both almost totally non-verbal, will clearly vary from production to production. What is provided here is a skeletal outline based on the original production. There must be no verbal improvisation, however, in either of these scenes or in any other part of the play. The physical production is simple. It looks as if it could be carried around by a troupe of traveling performers. Upstage Center is a high "box" made of scaffolding . Its sides are curtained with brown burlap. There is a similarly made box Downstage Right. It is lower than the other and has a small platform in front of 124 it. Stage Left is an area for the musicians, and next to them a singing area for the actors. A wire is stretched across the front of the stage from the musicians to the box on the Right. From it hang several panels of burlap: the "curtain." There are some portable units which are moved by the actors between scenes: two three-tiered sets of steps, a smaller two-step unit, and a couple of stools. The costumes are well worn and part of the everyday wear of the performers. The materials are cotton and soft; the cut has no particular ethnic suggestion; the colors are earth colors. A particular piece of clothing will be used sometimes for a particular scene: a black top for the Ghost, a green top for the Hermit. The lighting is mostly white and doesn't change much. Singing is done by the actors who also occasionally play a musical instrument. Music will sometimes accompany or punctuate the action and words. The actors are in the first row of the audience in seats to which they will sometimes return. The play begins when the actors rise and go to the singing area. SONG: The Fable When did it happen? Once upon a time that was not this time. Where did it start? In the Village of People Who Fish in the Lake. Once upon a time In the Village of People Who Fish in the Lake They were repairing the net But forgot that the lake was dry. Once upon a time In the Village of People Who Fish in the Lake They were having a meeting But forgot that they were meeting. Once upon a time In the Village of People Who Fish in the Lake They chose a villager to go for help But forgot who they were sending. Once upon a time In the Village of People Who Fish in the Lake They talked of the Golden Time But only knew That this was not it. (The actors leave the singing area and group themselves around and on the two larger stair units, facing the audience. They pick up the net and a few materials with which to repair it. All the announcements in the piece are made by the actors when they are ready to proceed with the next scene. There is a "ping" of music before each announcement and a percussion sound after.) ANNOUNCEMENT: The Village of People Who Fish in the Lake. (They begin to work on repairing the net. They work rhythmically but their rhythm is interrupted as one or the other forgets what they are doing; they "gape." They have three modes of speaking and moving together. The first is the "busy " mode, which is rapid.) 125 7TH VILLAGER: Measure it out. Take it...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1537-9477
Print ISSN
1520-281X
Pages
pp. 124-147
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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