University of Maine School of Performing Arts students will perform “Baba Yaga and the Black Sunflower” at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at Al Cyrus Pavilion Theatre on campus.
Carol Korty, professor emerita at Emerson College and a guest artist at UMaine, wrote and directs the folktale recommended for children 8 and older. It contains themes about getting along with others, intuition, imagination and courage.
Two main characters are Baba Yaga, a wise, feared witch, and Maryushka, a young girl who feels like she doesn’t fit in. Baba Yaga is a Russian folktale character. She brews magic potions, is rumored to eat misbehaving children and lives in a five-sided talking hut that walks on giant chicken legs. She flies through the deep forest in a giant mortar that she steers with a pestle. Maryushka, who loves nature and is scared of it, has gotten into trouble and is determined to find a way out.
Korty hopes the play captures the essence of a traditional Russian Baba Yaga folktale as well as the feeling that she had and that other adolescents have of living in two different worlds — one with family and one with schoolmates.
During UMaine’s spring break, the cast and crew of “Baba Yaga and the Black Sunflower” will stage free performances at area schools, including in Bangor, Ellsworth, Hermon, Lincoln and Presque Isle. Tickets are available at the door for the March 22 performance at UMaine. Cost is $5 per person, or free with a valid student MaineCard.