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Act!vated Stories
Family friendly folktales and travel tales
Act!vated Stories is presented by Act!vated Story Theatre a national touring theatre troupe for children and their families. Since 1988, the Act!vated Actors have toured the continental US and beyond, bringing live educational theatre to students at schools and libraries. Podcasting comedic folktales to you from somewhere on the road once a month or so since 2006.

Mar 13, 2008

The poor bat has an evil image that it doesn't deserve. Because it's active at night, and hides in dark places like caves, and has a rather sinister appearance, it has inspired fear for ages. And Dracula wasn't exactly a helpful public relations person, either. But in fact bats are quite harmless, unless they have rabies -- which would put any critter in a bad mood.
In Nigeria, folks long ago tried to explain the bat's reputation with a little story to account for its status among living things. In our version it's called, appropriately, "Why the Bat is an Outcast". It points out that bats don't appear to fit in with either birds or "animals" (i.e., mammals), though it has characteristics of both -- and by being reclusive, appears to be shunned by both. Scientists, of course, tell us that bats are indeed mammals, a sort of flying rat. But they're harder to keep as pets.

We encountered only one bat recently when we walked through the caves at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, and it was dead -- and encased inside a stalagmite! This was inside the Lower Cave, an optional tour that had us Indiana Jones-ing down a slope while hanging on a rope, descending three ladders, and then walking around with headlamps on our helmets. That's the real way to see a cave! Well, actually the real way to see a cave is in its natural lighting -- total darkness, which we also saw for about 5 minutes.

On our way to Carlsbad, we spent a day in Abilene, TX, where we stumbled upon the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) and talked to executive director Sarah Mulkey. She told us all about the Center's mission of exposing the public, and particularly children, to the original artwork of prominent children's book illustrators. The current exhibition features Gerald McDermott, who illustrated some of the stories that we've performed in the past -- and will be performing again.

Happy Listening,
Dennis (Bruce the Bat), Kimberly (Birds & Beasts) and Zephyr (Narrator)