“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.
If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
― Albert Einstein
Magic. A problem that needs solving. Good vs. Evil. Royalty. A lesson or theme. The number three—All of these elements need to be present in order to make a fairy tale.
The Lower Elementary children have been learning about The Brothers Grimm and their contributions to classic fairy tales. Each child has chosen a specific character to follow throughout one story. Through improvisation and scene work, the children are working towards building specific movement choices (how does your character walk, sit, run etc), vocal choices (accents, clarity, cadence and projection), and the relationships among the various characters. We discussed what it means to be an ensemble and to collaborate, and this is a true ensemble piece. Each part, big or small, has an important role in making the play a success!
Each fairy tale has a moral or lesson and most of the children recognized this with ease. Additionally, we have also been discussing some historical references within the stories. Some of the questions addressed have been: Why didn’t girls have a choice in who they married or if they married at all? Why was being rescued by a prince a theme? And why were there such inequitable circumstances among some of the characters? One of my favorite activities is asking students to rewrite their character to reflect the present day. How would he or she behave differently if the story took place in 2017? The scenes that come out of that work are incredible and extremely creative.
When it came to casting the plays, we decided on some non-traditional casting choices and the children are very excited about it. There are several children playing roles against their gender by choice and with intention. This is not only a brave and challenging undertaking, but a way in which to open the material to anyone, regardless of gender. A good actor can play any role: male, female, and in one of our plays, animals!
We look forward to the students’ performance this Wednesday, January 31.