Storybook Tales come to life at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


Fairytales and folklore from around the world come to life in "Storybook Tales," a special family event on Sunday, March 30, at 3 p.m. The show is produced by, and held at, Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Professional actors and storytellers will read six hidden treasures from several cultural traditions accompanied by a 12-piece orchestra for a lively hour of fantasy and adventure.

"It's a mix of fairytales and myths, some involving children in different cultures and some involving creatures and animals," said Director Daniel Smith of New Haven, who composed the musical accompaniment. "They aren't stories that people have heard over and over again."

The first tale, "The Four Dragons," is a Chinese story about four giant beasts that help people get water when drought plagues their countryside. While fantastical, the story is the mythical explanation for the four rivers running through part of China, Smith said.

What do a Russian couple do when their dreams of having a child don't come to pass? They make one out of snow in "The Snow Maiden," another fairytale featured in the Quick Center event. The crystalline child comes to life, but her parents must protect her from playing a dangerous game with a fire to fit in with her human playmates.

The Afghani story "The Hearth of Silver" deals with the importance of honesty for a poor farmer who is given a wealth of silver by a well-meaning fairy. Believing the money belongs to someone else, the farmer must decide what to do with it.

"The message is 'If you're honest, it pays off,'" Smith said.

The show also includes the funny, cyclical tale, "The Game Board" from the African tradition, and "The Shroud," an Icelandic story of a girl who meets a ghost. "How Coyote Stole Fire," a Native American folktale, offers one take on how humans were given the power of fire.

Professional musicians playing in "Storybook Tales" are part of The Live Music Project, a group formed by Smith and Netta Hadari of Branford, in cooperation with the Quick Center for the Arts. The group will play two concerts in the Quick Center's 2003-04 season and hope to continue educational programs, such as the storytelling event, Smith said.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for children. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website, www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 19, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 242