FoulPlay Fairy Tales:
The Brothers Grimm
June 2015: Betty Layward School, Stoke Newington, London.
FoulPlay Productions collaborated with set construction company Tandem Set & Scenery to breath life into a disused annex of the Betty Layward Nursery school in Stoke Newington, London, radically altering numerous spaces, and building additional areas within which to bring to life the FoulPlay vision of three of Grimms fairy tales.
Through a process of audience induction the children, garbed in their adorable multi-function hooded capes, are led from the position of a passive audience to fully functioning participants upon whose actions the resolution of the stories becomes increasingly dependent. Following an introduction to the Brothers Grimm and ideas of story telling, the children are led into the forest of Hansel and Gretel, through into the realm of the elves and the shoe maker and finally into the enchantment forest of Snow White and Rose Red.
Despite being a show aimed at children between the ages of 3-12, in accord with the core principles of FoulPlay Productions, it was considered ideal to encourage each aspect of the show to be interpreted on multiple different levels serving to ensure that no matter the sophistication of the audience, insights could be gleaned by the astute, and sheer rollicking entertainment enjoyed by one and all. On the one hand, off-the-cuff references to child labour and so forth delicately permeate the narratives offering hints of a social commentary, while along a different tangent,implications how the Brothers Grimm might be manipulating and exploiting the stories. Of this latter point, FoulPlay felt it important that the narrators should bring with them a tale to bind the tales they told, not only would they appear in loose disguise as principle characters within the sub-stories, but hints were made that the narrators themselves might even be robbing from the characters in their stories, further undermining the barriers between levels of story telling.
Alex Mannion-Jones and Ulysses Black took on the roles of the story gathering Grimm Brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm, while Annie Brooks that of principle puppeteer and the Old Shoe Maker, with Jack Stigner directing, stage management and puppetry.
Over the space of five days, FoulPlay delivered 30+ 48minute(ish) shows with just enough time between each (5-8minutes to reset before the next class) making its way through the entire school and tailoring the performance styles to match the sophistication of each age group.
If your institution would like to know about FoulPlay's unique interactive approach to performance for classes please contact FoulPlay Productions.