Follow That Singing Bird!

Charlie backs up Sam as he sings a reggae tune with lyrics written by Chloe, Aiden, and Erica

Hansel and Gretel aren’t the only ones in the forest looking for a meal… those breadcrumbs on the path are looking pretty delicious to the birds.

“Perfect!” crows a rooster (Erica).

“I wonder what they taste like,” a hummingbird (Mackenzie) wonders.

A little sparrow (Chloe) chirps out simply, “Foooood!”

We saw birds of all kinds on the breadcrumb trail this week in playmaking, where actors moved about the space as birds of all kinds: a finch, a robin, even a penguin… we never know what we’ll see in this forest!

Every bird moves differently, and every bird sings differently. Actors got in touch with their inner birds as we worked out Hansel and Gretel’s greatest plight: the breadcrumbs have been eaten, and they’ve lost their way.  But one helpful bird, according to the original Brothers Grimm story, sings to them a song that coaxes them onward.

But they never said what kind of song it was.  Luckily, we’ve got some great songwriters in the group (and I mean everyone)!

Is it a song of warning?  Don’t go in the forest any further?  Turn back?  Or is it a song to guide them to the sweet but treacherous candy house lying a few more paces down the path?

Playmakers broke off into three groups. Each group devised lyrics to a possible song that the bird could sing to the wandering siblings.  Then, we switched it up: groups passed their songs onto the next group over, and the second group were the ones to write the melody, based on a song style we assigned them.

We saw some lyric heavy metal birds, choreographed R&B birds, even reggae birds, all trying to entice Hansel and Gretel to come with them into the forest, where they came upon the candy house.

With all those different kinds of bird songs, I know I might be inclined to follow.  We’ll see what Hansel and Gretel decide to do soon!

Brittany Cook has been working with the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine since 2011. She has served as Musical Director, scoring and playing the original music for our mainstage productions, and she has worn many other hats as well! Brittany will direct our fall production of Hansel & Gretel.