An audience member, left, and performer Maki Castro work together to tell the story of "Petra and Mo" an original performance piece from Barn Arts. EMILY ELLIS/BARN ARTS PHOTO

A giraffe, a mouse, a toucan, and you!

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — For the next four Sundays those who want to try their acting chops in a family-friendly show are encouraged to go see Petra and Mo at the Southwest Harbor Public Library.

Showing at 1 p.m. each Sunday through August, Petra the giraffe, played by Maki Castro, and Mo the mouse, played by Andrew Simon, lead the audience and players through the story of the Weeping Willow Tree.

Simon, the artistic director for Barn Arts, narrates the tale that includes characters to be played by members of the audience with however much flair they wish to exude.

“The piece uses original music, spoken word and projections to tell a story about being together and saying goodbye,” Simon said.

Recruiting begins with the willow tree and continues with a banana tree, a bird, a two-person snake, a pomegranate tree and a squirrel.

While it is a lighthearted production, the show also brings big emotions into play: fears, excitement, sadness and growth.

Whether participating in the show or watching, members of the audience are encouraged to join Simon in taking a deep breath to come to the present and to allow for whatever experience is triggered from the dialogue.

Each week features the same story, but performances will vary depending on who participates.

Simon works the production as an entertainer and a director at the same time using well-honed improvisation skills. As the story is told, Simon navigates the characters around the room from one colored circle to another placed on the floor

Maki, a master at impressions, shines each time he brings forth Petra or is featured as another character among the menagerie.

Music for the one hour production was scored by Cedar Ellis in collaboration with Maki and Simon. The puppets were created by Heather Thayer and set design was by Ingrid Larson.

The Southwest Harbor Public Library is closed on Sundays but opens its doors for the public to come and watch Petra and Mo. Contact 244-7065.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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