Saturday, 14 March 2009

Once upon a time....

Stories have always been a really important part of my upbringing. Coming from an Irish family I think this was amplified for me. I remember vividly being read to when I was younger and whenever the family get together you always find a new story to listen to, or hear one you haven't heard for ages. I think that storytelling is such an important part of childhood and is definitely needed to bring parents and children closer together. I think this is partly why I wanted to be a part of the creative team.

I have participated in quite a few workshops now and it has become really clear that the children have got amazing imaginations. I truly believe we have the ability to create ANYTHING. The children have given us so many ideas that now we have to sit down and work out what ideas will work for us and them.
The creative team had a meeting on Thursday and we are taking the weekend to find stories from Greek and Egyptian mythology. Then we are going to come together on Monday and look at the main structures and the themes which run through the stories. Then we will pick our favourite and use this as a springboard for our story.

When I was thinking about the stories I liked from a child the first that came to my head was The Lion and the Mouse which is one of Aesop's fables. I think all of Aesop's fables are brilliant and I always loved reading them when I was younger. I like the fact that they are all very simple and have a clear beginning, middle and end and since they are fables all make a very clear point. Other stories I loved when I was a child were the Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh stories. I don’t think anyone can deny that A.A Milne was a brilliant writer.
When researching Greek myths I remembered read the story of Perseus and Medusa when I was at school. I enjoyed reading the story again and it allows your imagination to run wild. I can see in my minds eye the three Fates and creating the costume for Medusa. The story is this;
Perseus and Medusa

Once there was a good king, but he died. His bad brother killed him so that he could be king. The bad brother needed to get rid of the good king's wife (Danae) and baby (Perseus), but he was afraid to kill them too. So he put them in a wooden chest and he dropped the wooden chest in the ocean. After a long time they drifted ashore in a new kingdom. Perseus and his mother Danae stayed there while Perseus grew up. But after a while the king of the new place wanted to marry Danae, but she didn't want to marry him. This king wanted to get rid of Perseus for awhile so he could make Danae marry him. So the king sent Perseus on a quest, to kill the monster Medusa and bring back her head.

At first Perseus didn't know where to find Medusa, so he went and asked the three Fates. The Fates were very old and they only had one eye and one tooth between them and they took turns every day, passing the eye and the tooth between them. When Perseus came to them, at first they didn't want to tell him where Medusa was. But Perseus waited until they were passing the eye from one to another, and so none of them could see. Then he quick grabbed the eye! The Fates had to tell Perseus where Medusa was in order to get their eye back.
Then Perseus met the god Hermes, who gave him winged sandals to wear so he could fly to where Medusa was, and fight from the air. And he met the goddess Athena, who gave him a sword and a shield. Athena told Perseus not to look at Medusa or her ugliness would turn him to stone. Instead he should use the shield as a mirror and look in that to cut off Medusa's head.