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We are a group of friends/parents that run a not-for-profit cultural association in Spain.
This is our (bilingual!) blog about our theatre workshops for kids...

lunes, 5 de diciembre de 2011

Starting from scratch. Turning a song into a play

All this thinking about inspiration and finding the right idea recently has got me thinking about the "Ugly Bug Ball". The more I think about this song, the more perfect I think it would be as a starting point for a children's play - and I thought I'd use it over the next few weeks to show how I would go about transforming the song into a theatre production.

The first thing we need to do is look hard at (or in our case, listen to) our material to make sure:
  • it inspires us
  • it has enough potential (we need enough 'room to manoeuvre': does it have scope to take themes further? does it have enough theatrical potential?)
  • it has appeal (will the kids enjoy working on the project? will the audience relate to it?)
So, for anyone who needs a refresher, here's the song. Have a listen and see whether it fits the bill for you:

At first glance, as a base for a play, it would seem to have a lot going for it:
  •  the central theme is appealing to kids - all those creepy crawlies! (and there are always the butterflies to satisfy any would-be princesses in the group)
  • there is an underlying theme that can be developed - think an insect world take on the age-old story of the ugly duckling - which should appeal to a wider audience and also gives you something to 'get your teeth into' educationally during the workshop
  • it has loads of dramatic potential - vibrant costumes, dancing (it's a ball after all!)...
So far so good. But it's really important to choose the right idea - you're going to be living and breathing this song for the next goodness knows how long, so it's better to take a bit longer over choosing the central theme - and be 100% certain - than dive straight in and repent at your leisure.

So, just to make absolutely sure this song really does have enough potential, I always spend a few days on google, testing out various ideas and seeing how it stands the test.

The questions: does a play about creepy crawlies have enough dramatic - and visual - potential? Is there enough scope for costumes, for example?

The results:

As soon as I see these images, visions of insect masks, satin capes, bright colours, gigantic, larger-than-life flowers start racing through my mind and I know, deep down, I can do something with this song. First step done and dusted. We're on  our way!

What do you think? Is this song a good choice for a children's play? Does it inspire you?

2 comentarios:

  1. Fantastic images and very inspiring! Maybe you could blend the idea with a fairy tale such as Cinderella (going to the ball) or Sleeping Beauty (who gets invited to the party?).

  2. That's a great idea! 'pinning' the basic premise of the song onto a broader (well known)story would make it much easier to develop. you could have great fun with it!


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