What Makes A Witch

“Hello, darling Hansel,” says a Witch (Sierra) in a monologue based on a statue she created this week.  “We have some yummy work to do.”

Well!  Witches sound pretty menacing.  But what does a witch look like? Sound like? Move like?

How can you tell if someone is a witch?

Our actors warn of a few signs to watch out for: scary cackle, white hair pulled back in a bun, bad breath, skin as tough as bark… these are only a few signs that children walking alone in the woods should watch out for, according to our recent playmaking brainstorm sessions.

Hansel and Gretel had better be careful.

Though the woman may at first appear harmless, she soon locks up Hansel, and orders poor Gretel to help fatten him up for roasting.  Our actors wrote scenes and songs, and created still images and dances to tell of the scary things happening inside that tempting candy house.

“Why dance?” you may ask.  Aren’t we writing a script?

Well, as they say, a picture may be worth a thousand words… if this is true, dances speak volumes.  In a silent dance, we see nothing but raw emotion. We see the Witch’s hunger, Hansel’s despair, Gretel’s dilemma; all of these are key to setting the right scene for the story we want to tell.

We are able to see how Hansel moves, how Gretel frets… and just what does a witch look like again?

Sam and Aiden help to transform Sierra into a Witch statue.

Actors help each other embody the characters in still image montages.  This week, we saw frozen scenes of the Witch taking Hansel to his cage, and dances to get the playmakers moving and looking like hungry witches and frightened (yet resourceful) children.

We know that Gretel will soon save the day, but that part remains yet to be written!  Now that we have an idea of what our witch looks like, thinks like, sounds and smells like, we can figure out exactly what Gretel and her brother must do to outwit her!

One more week of playmaking to go – let’s see that script start to take shape!

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.

Read more of Brittany’s posts about the playmaking process here.