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Magic Theatre ventures 'Down in the Briar Patch'
'Down in the Briar Patch'
TIMES: 1 and 3 p.m. Saturdays through Feb. 9
WHERE: Magic Theatre, 815 B St., Yuba City
The character of the trickster has existed in fiction for centuries. And among the most famous of these characters is Br'er Rabbit.
The Magic Theatre will present its own take on Br'er Rabbit and his many escapes in "Down in the Briar Patch." The play begins its run on Saturday.
"It's really funny and (people) will have a lot of fun," said the play's co-writer and co-director, Brandon Graham. He co-wrote the play with his father, Jeff, who is also the play's director and plays Br'er Bear.
The father-and-son duo's take on Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Bear comes from the "Uncle Remus" stories that existed as folklore for centuries before being published in the "Uncle Remus" books during the late 19th century. Disney later adapted the stories into "Song of the South" in 1946.
"Most people will be familiar with (the Uncle Remus stories)," Graham said. "But we've changed it to be more modern and acceptable."
This includes removing what many believe to be the racist overtones of the stories. So no tar-baby. And no Uncle Remus.
"Down in the Briar Patch" instead has Granny (Betsy Johnson) telling the tales of the trickster rabbit to her granddaughter, Stevie (Lena Bautista).
The play mostly concerns the efforts of Br'er Fox (Mary Scully), Br'er Wolf (Christopher Court) and Br'er Bear to trap Br'er Rabbit. But Br'er Rabbit, being the trickster that he is, always manages to escape capture.
Their first trap is a bear made out of honey. Br'er Rabbit falls for the trap and becomes stuck to the bear. But he tricks Br'er Bear, who isn't exactly the smartest of the lot, to unstick him from the bear.
Br'er Bear wants to toss the rabbit into either the pond or the briar patch. Br'er Rabbit tells Br'er Bear he would rather be tossed in the pond. But Br'er Bear tosses him into the briar patch.
It was all a ploy, though, as the trickster rabbit was using reverse psychology. "I was born and raised in the briar patch!" he declares, escaping yet again.
The rest of the play continues in a similar fashion, with Granny telling more stories about Br'er Rabbit getting caught and tricking people either into letting him escape or in getting what he wants.
Other stories include Br'er Rabbit stealing the milk of Sis Cow (Taylor Hughes) and trapping Br'er Bear after convincing Br'er Bear that Br'er Rabbit has a job that pays a dollar a minute.
"I've wanted to do this play for as long as I've been acting," Graham said. "I love the stories. They're just fun. Br'er Rabbit is funny. I've always wanted to be able to trick people in the way he did."
The play runs to Feb. 9.
"The actors are having a lot of fun, and if the actors are having a lot of fun, then hopefully the audience will be having fun," Graham said.