Four fun fables

Dia De Los Cuentos

<p><b>This pair of 
streetwise mice 
is in the market for teeth, and they’ll 
pay cash.</b></p>

This pair of streetwise mice is in the market for teeth, and they’ll pay cash.

Photo courtesy of B Street Theatre

Dia De Los Cuentos; 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $15-20. B Street Theatre's Family Series Stage, 2711 B Street; (916) 443-5300; Through March 29.

Rated 5.0

B Street Theatre’s newest Family Series production, Dia De Los Cuentos, showcases four fables with Latin flavors. It also shows off the theater’s strong storytelling skills—both in the staging and in the writing, since all four tales are scripted by current company members.

The four fables, highlighting cultural stories found in Spain, Mexico and New Mexico, may be familiar to those who know the general tales, but are given life and humor by B Street playwrights and directors Jerry Montoya, Buck Busfield and Dave Pierini.

Dia De Los Cuentos is billed as a children’s theater selection, but it’s presented with such fun, flair and talent that adults can thoroughly enjoy the play alongside the younger audience members. The five actors (Nestor Campos Jr., Amy Kelly, Joel Ledbetter, Dena Martinez and Armando Rivera) work in perfect unison to bring their acting skills and enthusiasm to the fascinating fables—all working on a wonderfully colorful and clever stage. Adding to the overall imaginative presentations are the vibrant costumes and makeup, including ancient Mexican tribal wear, beautiful village attire and humorous animal costumes like a rascally rabbit, a kooky coyote, an imaginative parrot and a streetwise mouse.

The scripts seamlessly dot the dialogue with Spanish words and phrases, effortlessly intermingling two languages, as well as mingling humor and drama to make the stories sing.

The first is Pepito the Mouse, a Spanish version of the tooth fairy, and in this version it’s a streetwise rodent who navigates garbage cans, mouse-hole houses and a girl who loses her tooth. The Legend of Popocatepl and Itzaccihuatl recreates the ancient legend of crossed lovers and how Mexico City volcanoes were formed. The Rabbit and Coyote presents the familiar mythical trickster character to explain why the coyote howls at the moon. And finally, The Parrot and the Firewood skillfully and creatively brings to life a familiar Hispanic folk tale of New Mexico.