The Jungle Book
inspired by the Rudyard Kipling
A play for all ages
Rights Available via Steele Spring Stage Rights
Book available at Amazon.com
This play has 13 named roles, which can be double-cast, as well as an ensemble (also double cast). It can be done with as few as 8 or as many as, let’s say, 20.
Adopted by Raksha of the Seeonee wolf pack and hunted by Shere Khan the tiger, Mowgli wants nothing more than to fit in somewhere. But fitting in with wolves isn’t easy for a man’s cub like Mowgli. When Mowgli runs away, he sets in motion his own coming-of-age journey as he bounces from ape to snake to human communities…
This is a play about community and what it means to be a perpetual outsider, with a environmentalist message to boot. This adaptation borrows from the Mowgli narrative in the Kipling’s The Jungle Book. (Although fun and playful, it isn’t the Disney version; nor does it reproduce any of the awkward ) It was commissioned by Big Idea Theatre with the express directive to be for audiences “from 5 to 95 and everyone in between.”
Four Stars from Sacramento News and Review:
“Oglesby brought a lot of wit and insight to the project…. a thoughtful-yet-active and entertaining all-ages family show, with enough cleverly inserted jokes to keep the grownups on board.”
A short section:
THE JUNGLE BOOK
by Briandaniel Oglesby
We are in darkness – deep and inky – and in this darkness, the jungle grows like vines of sound. Let it quake. Let it roll over the audience. From this, BALOO emerges. Maybe he’s conducting the jungle. He settles the sounds so he can introduce himself.
Hello, hi. I am Baloo, and I am a bear, but I am not a normal bear.
Normal bears are not narrators. Nor are they teachers. I am both. I am tasked with the edification of the wolf pack. I teach them jungle law and the stories of us Jungle People.
Listen to me, and you may stay alive.
In a jungle, dark and deep,
Hunters hunt and creatures creep,
Betwixt vines and ferns, brush and leaves,
Hide yourself! You’re not as safe as it seems,
Dangers crouch behind each tree,
Be wary for they will come for thee.
Listen, there! You hear that howl?
Akela’s pack is on the prowl.
Always avoid the python’s eyes,
A glance, a dance, and Kaa will hypnotize.
A tiger’s roar should make you shiver,
For you may be Shere Khan’s next dinner.
And when you fall, when you’ve lost the fight.
Your bones will be cleaned by the kite.
And should you find yourself today
The predator and not the prey,
Eat well, fill your stomach on fowl and beast,
Because tomorrow you may be the feast.
Hunger is a way of life, but there is another rule,
Followed only by the wolves, who are no fools—
The wolves they say: “you may be skin, you may be bone,
But learn you this: leave human kind alone.”
Just a bite a nibble a taste / one two maybe three / I am so hungry for human
Leave them alone!
No good comes from humans.
Baloo, darlin’ –
This is Bagheera, and he is a cat —
Today’s story — Riki-Tiki-Tavi!
Today’s story – The White Seal.
No. It’s time for Mowgli’s Story
Are you sure? It has sad parts. And scary parts. And monkeys!
Grr — Monkeys!
And I say things that I regret. How about a story where I don’t make humbling mistakes?
Baloo – it’s time to tell Mowgli’s story.
He always gets what he wants.
Today my duty is to share,
The story of Mowgli, a man’s cub grown in my care.
Our care, you old sack.
And among the wolves in Akela’s pack
Our hymnals open, take a look,
Verse one, we introduce, The Jungle Book.