Fairy Folk Myth in Daily Lives

Parenting milestone for a #musicaltheatre and #fairyfolkmyth nerd achieved: Lil’Pirate Dude is watching the original #IntotheWoods recording. This is during “Giants in the Sky,” a song I sing to him often. He’s confused and keeps looking back at me to start singing. Once I do, all smiles! #parentingnerd #youwillloveSondheim via Instagram http://ift.tt/2t5eNQc

Why Theater Should Join the Dark Side (of Fairy Tales)

Here’s the second column in my series asking why theaters dumb down their shows for kids. Since this one focuses on fairy tales, I want to share it with my readers here. 

Let’s delve into a pretty common denominator in the world of theater for young audiences (TYA): fairy tales. There is no end to internet lists “revealing” or “discovering” the dark origins of fairy tales, yet it is so surprising that, once upon a time, we actually told children scary stories? Shocking!

Many of the original versions of fairy tales were told to help children and adults confront the very real dangers of their times. Hansel and Gretel is an excellent example and very likely the most well known: it’s famine and hunger that motivate the mother or stepmother (depending on the version) to convince her husband to abandon his children in the woods. Most stage productions hide that part of the tale. It is fear of the darkness inherent in the stories that can cause playwrights to move too far in the other, more saccharine direction, leading to meaningless takes on fairy tales that now feel like the norm. When we remove fear from a fairy tale — or any story — we remove its connection to our lives, and that dumbing down affects theater audiences for a lifetime. Without true connections to our own feelings, fears and joys, why bother attending?

Read more at The Clyde Fitch Report

Read Part 1: Why do Theaters Dumb Down TYA (Theater for Young Audiences)?

Caleb Foote and Angela Giarratana in “Hansel & Gretel Bluegrass” (Photo: Cooper Bates)

Fairy Folk Myth in Daily Lives

So I happen to be editing my new #TalkingTYA column, adding our experience seeing #CuriousGeorge @orlandorep while my son watches @pbskids Curious George. As I shift to researching #HanselandGretel for another writing assignment, that curious monkey attends his first opera: Hansel and Gretel. #fairyfolkmyth #fairytales #syzygy via Instagram http://ift.tt/2nHB69t

Hard Fantasy vs Soft Fantasy for Children

Patrick Rothfuss profile

Patrick Rothfuss image was taken from this interview.

In that Talks at Google with Patrick Rothfuss from my last post, he answers a question dear to my heart. I usually discuss it in relation to children’s theatre, but it holds. They’re smarter than you think.

Audience Question: How hard is it to make hard fantasy versus soft fantasy for children?

Rothfuss: There’s an unfortunate tendency among people in general to say, oh, I’ll just write a fantasy novel because you can just make stuff up. And that’s wrong, because that’s not – you can just do a bunch of stuff and magic will make it make sense. You can, but that’s not good writing, it’s not good storytelling, it’s not good craft.

In my opinion, similarly, people, sometimes, in the genre, are like, well, boy, I wish I could write YA because then kids don’t know what a plot hole is, they don’t care about consistent characterization, they’re not gonna call me on the million dragons ecology problem that I’ve created, this is not a sustainable eco-structure. But that, in my opinion, is a really egregious cop-out. Because in the same way that food that we feed our children should be actually held to a higher standard than the food you give to an adult, because an adult can say, blech, this is awful, or they can read the label and go, oh, this has terrible things in it and it’s going to make me sick and give me cancer. A kid can’t. 

And so you owe it to kids to actually put more work into this because it’s harder to write short. It’s harder to write simply [sic]. It’s harder to do a lot of these things, and it’s harder to write cohesive, coherent, internally coherent fantasy. And you shouldn’t go to YA thinking, oh, my, this will be way easier. I can just bang out 30,000 words and then go play World of Warcraft.

No.

I do not approve.

But then again, I have not really taken a legitimate crack at YA. I know that it’s hard, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try for it. That’s my philosophy.”