Return to Aesop
Set against the backdrop of some of Aesop's well-loved fables including ‘The Hare & the Tortoise’ and ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’, this fun, family musical was workshopped and developed in London in spring 2014 before receiving its premiere production that August as the culmination of the 2014 Starling Arts Summer School. Extracts from Return to Aesop were performed as part of High Five in London, in February 2015.
Return to Aesop tells the story of Jack, a young boy who is locked inside a large white house. His mother, thinking she’s protecting him from harm, ensures Jack receives a strict upbringing in the house under a team of staff led by a stern Butler, and featuring a young maid called Boe.
One summer morning, Jack notices a hare in a running bib shooting past the window. The door bell rings and Jack, noticing the front door has been left open, discovers a book on the doorstep of the house. It is blank, except an inscription reading ‘Return to Aesop’. Caught by his mother, he is sent to his room and told to remain there until she returns from a business trip.
Desperate to explore the outside world, Jack seizes the opportunity to run away from home to find the book’s owner. He soon encounters a tortoise sitting on a park bench and learns that Tortoise is to race the very hare Jack spotted earlier that day. Wondering how a hare and a tortoise could ever be matched in a running race, Tortoise teaches Jack to ‘Keep it Slow’ and encourages him to write down everything he’s learning in the book marked ‘Return to Aesop’.
During his search for the book’s owner, Jack meets a host of colourful characters including a girl who cries wolf, an aspirational Jackdaw and a gang of sheep. He chronicles his adventures inside the book, soon finding fame and celebrity as a storyteller. Meanwhile, the housemaid Boe conceals Jack’s absence, until Jack’s mother returns from her trip early to find her son missing. The Butler heads a search party to bring Jack home for good.
The feud comes to a head at the finish line of the Hare and Tortoise race. Who will win the contest? Can Jack’s family be happily reunited or will the doors of the house be shut forever more?