Pamplin Media Group – Musical mashup combines ‘Winnie the Pooh and Lao-Tzu Too’
Masque Alfresco production will be outdoors at George Rogers Park in Lake Oswego
Although it may seem impossible to find a connection between “Winnie the Pooh” and the characters in Chinese Taoist tales, Fayda Teeters found several. And then she spun those connections into Masque Alfresco’s latest piece “Winnie the Pooh and Lao-Tzu Too,” which opened Aug. 5 at the George Rogers Park Iron Foundry in Lake Oswego.
The play has most of the beloved “Winnie-the-Pooh” characters as well as characters from Chinese tales; also included six original songs with music by Albert Palmer and Michael Koach, with lyrics by Teeters.
Teeters, the artistic director of Masque Alfresco, noted that the hour-long piece is steeped in Taoist philosophy, commedia dell’arte slapstick and colorful characters.
“Be sure to bring lawn chairs, blankets, picnics, leashed pets and your funny bones,” she added.
“AA Milne wrote his beloved Pooh stories for his son, Christopher Robin, as a way to return to a simpler, kinder time before World War I. Likewise, Lao-Tzu, wrote the Tao Te Ching at a time of great war and turmoil in ancient China,” Teeters said.
Additionally, Pooh is constantly referred to as “the little brain bear”, who does silly things that produce great results for everyone involved.
“It corresponds to the Taoist notion of the uncarved block: an entity centered on itself, without needing to prove anything to the outside world; simple, but not stupid, simple, but profound,” Teeters said.
Moreover, “a basic Taoist image is that of a river which does not flow in a straight line, but winds its way through the land in order to fulfill its true nature,” Teeters said.
She added that “Milne also wrote similarly about a little stream that dances and bubbles at its birth, but as it flows and matures it slows down, sure to know that there is no don’t be in a hurry, he will get there one day.”
Bringing the Commedia dell’arte to life
Teeters said that for audiences who have followed his band’s performances for 21 years, this piece is “both the culmination and culmination of our efforts to update Commedia dell’arte for modern audiences, retaining thus this 500-year-old tradition safe and sound.”
“All 21 years of our performances have incorporated elements of comedy, primarily with the use of core characters, familiar archetypes that permeate and influence modern theater,” she said.
Examples in this play include Eeyore, who is the provider of complaining about unhappiness and sadness; Simple Pooh Bear, but he can always be counted on to save the day; and Piglet, the smallest, somewhat timid animal who shows tremendous courage when needed, she noted.
Additionally, Teeters said, she wrote all of the original plays over the years with the idea that the actors “would put their own individual spin on the lines, much the same way comedy troupes have over the years.” last 500 years, since their plays were largely improvised stock market scenarios.”
She added: ‘Yet another principle: as a company, we all pull together to put up the curtains, arrange the props, load and unload our cars. All for one and one for all.’
Teeters said she dedicated many years of her life to working with Masque Alfresco and decided to retire after that show ended.
“For 21 years, I adapted all of our screenplays, wrote four to six grants each year, served as both director and producer for the majority of our productions, took publicity photos, wrote press releases and created and printed programs and leaflets. she says.
She said what kept her going was knowing that “Masque Alfresco provided a unique service to people who wouldn’t normally attend live theatre.”
The band’s plays have always been free to the public, so when the hat is passed for no-obligation donations, the funds are split evenly among the cast, she said.
“Our plays also strived to be family-friendly and multi-generational, inclusive with color-blind castings and gender-neutral role assignments,” Teeters said.
After this show ends, Teeters said she will miss “the camaraderie, passing on what I know about Commedia dell’arte and theater in general to the next generation, seeing my creative output come full circle”.
She noted that in this regard, a “small miracle” happened.
“Mark Friedly, a founding member who has always played hilarious character roles and is still our current technical director, now has the pleasure of watching his two teenage daughters perform – Amanda Grace Friedly as Christopher Robin and Sara Beth Friedly in the role of Piglet.
The rest of the cast includes Kerry Kehoe, Kenneth Dembo, Michael Koach and Teeters.
Teeters added, “Watching our six company actors play 30 different characters with incredibly fast costume changes should be a lot of fun.”
What: Masque Alfresco presents “Winnie the Pooh and Lao-Tse too”
When: 7 p.m. on August 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21
Where: George Rogers Park Iron Foundry, 611 S State St., Lake Oswego
Details: The play is adapted and directed by Fayra Teeters, under the musical direction of Albert Palmer. Visit masquealfresco-redirectxyz for more information.
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