Members of the Mettawee River Theatre Company model masks from their production of "The Dancing Fox: Wisdom Tales of the Middle East"
Members of the Mettawee River Theatre Company model masks from their production of "The Dancing Fox: Wisdom Tales of the Middle East" (Provided photo)

SALEM, N.Y. -- The Mettawee River Theatre Company will perform its 2014 production, "The Dancing Fox: Wisdom Tales of the Middle East" this Friday, July 11 on the Park-McCullough House lawn in North Bennington. The performance will begin at 8 p.m.

"The Dancing Fox," a reprise of a 2003 Mettawee production, is gathered from the shared folk traditions of Jews and Arabs, including the writings of Sufi mystics, along with fables and folklore of the region. In these tales we encounter some clever foxes, dim-witted fish, a vengeful snake and other colorful creatures, as well as a number of wise and foolish humans. New perspectives emerge from the comic twists and tragic turns of their adventures. A variety of masks, puppets and giant figures will be used to flesh out the particular realm of each tale.

According to Mettawee Artistic Director Ralph Lee, "Eleven years ago, when asked what "The Dancing Fox" was about, I would reply, ‘Folk stories found in both the Jewish and Arab traditions.' ‘Oh, how timely!' was often the response. Eleven years later, same question, same answer, and, ‘Oh, how timely!' Well, I guess our previous production didn't change the course of history in the Middle East, and it won't this time, either, but the stories are still rich with delicious humor, uncanny insights, and sharp barbs, ready to jab you into painful laughter as they hit home.


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"The Dancing Fox" is written by Dave Hunsaker, who was the playwright for Mettawee's "The North Wind" in 1985, "Papyrus" in 1986 and "The Heroic and Pathetic Escapades of Karagiozis" in 2004. The production's score is by Neal Kirkwood, who has composed scores for Mettawee productions since 2001. Veteran Mettawee performers Tanya Barfield, Rob McFadyen and Jan-Peter Pedross will be joined by Jon Froehlich and Rachel Kodweis, with accordionist J.P. Schlegel-milch.

The production is directed and designed by Ralph Lee, with costumes by Casey Compton.

"The Dancing Fox" is recommended for audience members eight years and older.