Entertaining generations since its first publication in 1894, "The Jungle Book" still enchants audiences with humor and suspense while teaching moral lessons of life and friendship.
Baloo the bear teaches man-cub Mowgli the bare necessities of life and coaches him on "Jungle Law" in the theatrical retelling of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book." Upon his adoption by a family of wolves, the human boy Mowgli must learn how to survive and, ultimately, choose between his love of the jungle and his love of the pack through lessons imparted by Baloo.
Adapted by Chris Cheek and Erin Hicks-Cheek, and directed by Tim Berg, the Oklahoma City Theatre Company unleashes "The Jungle Book" into the wild 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday for a staging at the Civic Center Music Hall's Freede Little Theatre, 201 N. Walker.
Hicks-Cheek said much of the play's drama is motivated by a power struggle between the tiger Shere Khan and the wolf Akela. The battle between the two jungle enemies grows fiercer after Mowgli is accepted into the wolf pack, she said.
"That motivates Mowgli to stand up to Shere Khan, and leave the jungle," she said. "Mowgli leaves to save the pack and to keep them safe from humans and the return of Shere Khan. He knows his presence will rip the pack apart."
Jungle law eventually saves Mowgli and holds the pack together, Hicks-Cheek said, which serves as an analogy for human society and a moral code in place to ensure a healthy community.
"The Jungle Book" runs through Dec. 21. Tickets are $12 for students and $16 for adults. For more information, call 297-2264.