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Posted: Friday, June 09, 2000

I laughed harder during ``Fry Tales'' than any other Perseverance show this season. It's like watching a really good cartoon, but it's much better than television. It's active and interactive, and draws on all the things that make good theater immediate, live, funny and engaging.

Director Roblin Davis and the cast created the whole show, and they tapped right into the psyche of the kid mind. All the cool things kids can do - turn boxes into ships, furniture into mountains and an afternoon game into an epic adventure - are right here. Throw in a little mystery, some endearing characters, danger and dramatic music and a really trick set and you have a great show.

I'm amazed when I go back at look at some of the things I loved as a kid. ``Godzilla'' looks like a big dopey puppet now and ``Scooby Doo'' is just the same episode over and over. But other things still hold up, such as Max's journey to ``Where the Wild Things Are,'' or Pooh and Piglet's trip to the North Pole. ``Fry Tales'' has that spirit, the timeless, imagination-fueled aspect of being young, when friendship and fairness and fear and having fun were simple concepts.

``Fry Tales'' is the perfect compliment to the three ``mature audiences only'' shows earlier in the season - except it's not for kids only. It's fast-moving and entertaining enough for adults, and lacks the patronizing and trite elements that can make ``kids' entertainment'' not only boring but kind of insulting to adults.

Because the cast wrote their own parts and created the show, they could customize their roles, write their own dialogue and make the most of their talents. The ensemble work is tight and each character gets the spotlight at some point.

Aaron Elmore, as Sir Firma Jello, in particular transcends the genre. His theater background is extensive and he draws on all of it. His part is immensely entertaining.

Perseverance has a special schedule for ``Fry Tales.'' Regular performances are 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, with matinees at 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There's a pay-as-you-can show at 7 p.m. next Wednesday, and a few exceptions next weekend, so check first. The show runs about an hour.

Fishing is another one of those timeless activities and Saturday is Family Fishing Day at Twin Lakes. Fishing gear, boats and bait will be provided, and there will be games, demonstrations and food. Six local groups are contributing. The organized activities run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Juneau Aurora Knights Synchronized Swimming Team's annual show is this weekend. They perform at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Augustus Brown Swimming Pool.

It does seem to be a kid-centric weekend, and here's one more event. There will be a big garage sale Saturday - all the lost and found items from all the Juneau schools have been collected for the sale. If you need any kids' jackets or Teletubby lunch pails, here's your chance. All the proceeds go to scholarships. The sale begins at 8 a.m. in the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium.

There's an Audubon Bird Trip at 7 a.m. Saturday, led by Deanna McPhail. I went out birding a couple times last week with out-of-town friends and it was amazing. They could identify every bird by their calls alone. It gave me a new appreciation for how melodious and distinctive many bird songs are. I was also impressed with how beautiful those little brown kinglets and warblers and wrens are when you look at them through $800 binoculars.

The walk is at Dredge Lakes - meet at the parking lot by Mendenhall River Bridge on Back Loop Road, and wear rubber boots and bring binoculars.



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