African Fairy Tale Comes to Ames

by ISC Staff. News
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

Image from Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

Back by Popular Demand! Dallas Children’s Theater on Tour

The Iowa State Center’s Youth Matinee Series brings the Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT) production of John Steptoe’s, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, a gorgeous Caldecott Award-winning Cinderella tale, to Stephens Auditorium for two performances Thursday, March 29.

Author/illustrator John Steptoe’s 1987 book was inspired by an old tale from G.M. Theal’s “Kaffir Folktales.” A favorite among children and adults, Steptoe’s book was acknowledged by reviewers and critics as a breakthrough inspiring African American children to respect their ancestral origins. DCT’s production is adapted for the stage by Karen Abbott with music and lyrics by S-Ankh Rasa.

Every culture has its rendition of the Cinderella story, but this folktale from Zimbabwe is careful to point out how “beauty” is more than skin deep. With energy and color the  story is told through clear narration, African dance, drumming and song, as well as a splash of audience participation. Playwright Karen Abbott has carefully drawn out each important moral point, and children will easily follow along.

Mufaro, a dignified and caring African villager, has two beautiful daughters who are invited to meet the king. Mufaro and his daughters will begin their journey at sunrise, but Manyara, who believes she is better and prettier than her sister, sets out alone so that she can be presented to the king first. Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters celebrates the splendor and energy of the stunning Zimbabwe region and its colorful culture. The performance is most enjoyed by ages six through adult or grades one through seven.

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