I went to see a musical revue of this name yesterday, with songs written by none other than Stiles and Drewe (the duo that wrote Honk, Mary Poppins, and a bunch of other amazing shows), and it was great! The actors did excerpts from a variety of their shows including Soho Cinders, which intertwines elements of Cinderella with a homosexual political scandal (and if you are looking for a great soundtrack to listen to, I suggest this one. The song “I’m so over men” is a great upbeat fun song!). There were songs from Stiles and Drewe’s version of Peter Pan, which by golly someone needs to bring to the states. They wrote a song called Never land- which refers to never landing when flying. If you are like me, your mind is blown (and also slightly embarrassed that you never connected Neverland with never land).
I then spent the afternoon with David Wood, and each time I chat with him I find him more and more inspirational (and totally cool). I found out yesterday that he also wrote the play that was presented to the Queen on her 80th birthday (that was broadcast on BBC for 8 million viewers!). We discussed the difference between school performances and family performances, and different ways he engages children in theaters and schools alike. For example, when going to a school, he tries to put the windows behind the audience, so they don’t get distracted, and stands in a corner of the room, so the audience’s focus is even more focused. Also, if he is doing a show for children 3-11, he asks that the 3-year-olds be put a couple of rows back. At first, that seemed a little odd to me, but it makes sense- if he is standing, everyone seated on the floor will be able to see him regardless of height. It also gives the young ones a “security barrier” between themselves and the story; if they get scared during the story, there is a distance between them and the storyteller. These minor details keep the children much more engaged.
As David says “children are devious creatures, and half the time if they go to the bathroom during a performance it is because they are bored. My job is to keep children from going to the WC for an hour” and it was really fun learning some of the tricks that he uses!