Russian folktale. Adapted by David Foxton.
Cast: 15m., 4w., with doubling, or up to 25+ (19m., 6w.) plus extras. This adaptation is a tale of a thrilling and amusing chase to catch the fabulous Firebird and release her from the wicked Czar. A puppeteer and his assistant begin their performance of Ivan and the Firebird but switch to using the full stage when it becomes apparent that the puppets are too small for the audience to appreciate. Czar Vyslav, nagged incessantly by his wife over their country's shortcomings, is overjoyed when his gardener, Simeon, produces an apple tree bearing golden fruit. Before he can use this "miracle" to his country's good, the golden apples are stolen by the Firebird. Vyslav's three sons undertake to retrieve the apples, and the victor is promised that he will be heir to the throne. Their adventures are chronicled by the puppeteer, who controls the action of the play throughout, frequently "freezing" the performers to change the course of the storyline. Here is an action-filled play with considerable opportunities for audience involvement and participation. Three specific sets plus a common area to all. Costumes: Russian folk style. Approximate running time: 90 minutes.