Under the African Sky at Wild Swan Theater

A lazy Spider learns a lesson, the savvy Turtle tricks a hippo and elephant, and the entire Sky skips town. These three plots come to life in Wild Swan Theater's Under the African Sky, playing Jan. 26-28, 2012.

Ann Arbor's professional theater for families presents its annual trio of folktales from Africa at Towsley Auditorium, located on the Washtenaw Community College campus – also in Ann Arbor.

Blending puppetry with live action and plenty of audience participation, Wild Swan's take on these stories promises to be an engaging – and even educational – experience. (Hint: Before you go, boost your learning quotient with the show's study guide for background information on the plays and African culture.)

Masks and music, drums and dance help tell the stories in this hour-long production. Kids will enjoy watching as Spider learns a lesson about the value of hard work in The Talking Vegetables, Turtle challenges two bigger animals to a contest of strength in Tug-of-Vine, and a Nigerian tribe realizes they were foolish to waste the food the Sky had given them in Why the Sky is Far Away.

All Wild Swan shows include American Sign Language interpreting, so deaf children and adults can enjoy the show, too. The theater also provides pre-show "touch tours" backstage for blind audience members.

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Shows are at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Thursday and Friday, with the final show Saturday at 11 a.m. You can buy tickets – $12 for adults and $8 for kids – over the phone or on Wild Swan's website.

See the Metro Parent listing for more on the Wild Swan Theater 2012 production of Under the African Sky.