Fans of the interactive adaptation of Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (which closed at Asolo Rep just a few weeks ago) will be happy to learn that the show’s co-creators, Craig Francis and Rick Miller, are teaming again for another family-friendly show: the world premiere of their version of The Jungle Book, by Nobel Prize winner Rudyard Kipling (perhaps a distant relation of the writer of this article, Kay Kipling).
Kipling’s classic will be presented next June at Asolo Rep by Kidoons and WYRD Productions in association with the 20K Collective and takes the same multimedia theatrical approach as Leagues. The play will incorporate poetry from the original, mixed with immersive video and technology, to take audiences to the jungles where Mowgli the man-Cub, Baloo the bear, Kaa the Snake and other beloved characters come to life.
Co-creator (and co-director) Miller says that while the Mowgli stories have been adapted for film and TV before, there are other, less-told stories in The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book about “different animals from around the world,” including an Alaskan fur seal and a manatee. So even those who think they know The Jungle Book well may find some surprises on tap.
Again as with Leagues, a small cast will tackle a variety of roles onstage. Francis says they will “manipulate lights, shadows and fabric to create different natural, unnatural and theatrical environments.”
The theater company has been presenting these family-friendly shows the past couple of seasons, with Leagues and, in 2016, the circus-themed Hetty Feather. Another family-oriented show is promised for 2019 as well.
The show’s design team includes Astrid Janson (set, props and costumes), Debashis Sinha (sound and music design) and Andre du Toit (lighting design), as well as Irina Litvinkeno (video design), whose work helped summon up the world of Twenty Thousand Leagues.
Season subscriptions for the 2017-18 season are on sale now, available at the Asolo Rep box office, online at asolorep.org, or by calling (941) 351-8000 or (800) 361-8388.