This is our version of the classic fairy tale “The Troll Under The Bridge.
I wrote this in response to a lot of social justice issues that were bouncing around our city that year – none of which, alas, have been resolved to anyone’s satisfaction or needs – and was also inspired by my readings of (and brief correspondence with) Prof. Jack Zipes.
This story seemed to be a good mix between a classic folktale that advised for and supported a local xenophobia to ensure the safety of townsfolk when confronted by unknown individuals who seemed all too ready to prey on the unsuspecting – and some of the uncomfortable realities we seem to have trouble addressing in our current day to day lives.
It’s too easy to continue to prey and profit upon the blind fears of the unknown – and far more difficult to explain the community and individual need for compassion and necessity of learning what (or whom) something (or someone) actually is before passing judgement.
Heady stuff, perhaps, for a kids puppet show.
But I figured if you’re going to tell a well worn tale you might as well wear those tattered shoes upon a path less trodden and, in doing so, perchance take your audience to a place they might not have otherwise found.
This is especially true with young audiences. Present them with classic literature, iconic stories, archetypal characters, and then put those stories and characters in the context of the world(s) our young audiences inhabit today – the impact will (hopefully) be more meaningful, long-lasting and most certainly resonate more deeply throughout the rest of their lives as they grow up and away from kids puppet shows and begin their own walk upon the paths offered to them by the so-called real world we all must eventually, inevitably and inexorably inhabit.
It’s all about context.
Don’t worry kids. It’s just a puppet show.
And yes – there are monsters in the real world. They do prey upon you. You must beware them – and know them for who they really are. But know them truly – and don’t be afraid to look closer – and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes those who cry wolf or demand the destruction of a monster – are monsters themselves.
P. S. Apologies for the opening ad in the video. If it’s irritating and you hate it – say so in the comments and I’ll drop it like my trousers at a – uh – nevermind. Just leave a comment.
P. P. S. If you – or anyone you know – want to see more tales like this please visit our IndieGoGo site where we’re trying to raise enough funds to make our own version of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”. Many thanks. Tell your friends.
Here’s the widget:
UPDATE: Cory Doctorow very kindly gave us a mention over at BoingBoing with a nice snippet from this post, an embed of the Troll video and the info on our efforts to raise funding for our Ruffus version of “The Christmas Carol”. Thanks, Cory!
Tags: bread, children, children's TV, classic literature, comedy, context, fairy tales, fear, Freddy Wonder, kids, knucklepooper was always my favourite, music, pumpernickel, puppets, Ruffus, ruffus the dog, ruffusthedog, songs, storytelling, Troll Under The Bridge, video, xenophobia