Lancaster Middle School students in Grades 4, 5, and 6 were recently treated to a performance of “Trickster Tales” by the Barefoot Puppet Theatre. Funded by the Arts for Youth Program of the Rappahannock Foundation for the Arts, the presentation brought to life traditional stories from West Africa using rod and hand puppets, a twelve-foot stage, colorful scenery and original music.
The two stories from the Ashanti and Beluba peoples featured Anansi, the trickster spider. Anansi stories are known throughout Africa and are told by many different groups as part of their rich oral tradition.
“Tug-of-War” featured Anansi as he cleverly defeated both a hippopotamus and an elephant using only his wits, and “A Story, A Story” followed Anansi as he completed three seemingly impossible tasks to win a box of stories from the powerful Sky-God. Once he possessed the box, Anansi shared its stories with people all over the world.
The RFA Arts for Youth Program is partially funded by a Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Grant and by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The next Arts for Youth Program is Theatre IV’s production of “The Wonderful World of Simple Machines” on November 8.