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Monday, May 13, 2013 - West African folklore inspires OU children's theatre show

A spider that has become an iconic character of West African folklore is the inspiration for an upcoming children's theatre production at Oakland University.

Anansi is a trickster who can change his appearance to look like a human, a rabbit, a fox and other animals. His story, which has been adapted from stories gathered from many African cultures, will be shared in an original production developed by a team of faculty and students.

The play will feature African-inspired costumes and showcase student actors, dancers and musicians performing original music and choreography, much of it developed by the students themselves. Developed under the direction Theatre Program Director Kerro Knox and World Music Program Director Mark Stone, the play is suitable for children of all ages.

"It's a very colorful show with music in every scene and lots of dancing," Knox said. "Several members of the cast spent time in Ghana last summer, studying West African music and dance. The result is an inspired and terrific show."

"Anansi" will last about one hour, with performances in Varner Recital Hall at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, May 17; at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 18; and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 19. Tickets are $10 for general admission, and $6 for students, children and all seats at the 10 a.m. matinee.

The Recital Hall is in Varner Hall on the OU campus and is surrounded by ample free parking. Maps of the campus are available at or by searching for "Varner Hall" on a smart phone.

Tickets for "Anansi" can be purchased in advance with no service fees at or by phone at (800) 585-3737. They can also be purchased at the Center for Student Activities Service Window in the Oakland Center or at the Varner Hall Box Office. Complete ticket information is available at

More information is available at or by calling (248) 370-2030.

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