Having always been intrigued by the Brother's Grimm tale from a young child and it being partly our namesake, we decided to retell this story all be it from a slightly different angle. It is really exciting when we produce a new piece of theatre. There is usually a lot of discussion between myself and Iain about music, set design, costumes and of course characters. We like to create the script from scratch, either by devising or writing or a bit of both. Although we keep close to the story we update it and make it so that it fits with our two person company. It has been great fun developing the script for Rumpelstiltskin, seeing characters come to life and discovering how the story unravels. Having always been intrigued by the Brother's Grimm tale from a young child, it always confused me why the Miller's daughter would marry the king after he had threatened her that he would chop off her head if she didn't turn the straw into gold, and not only that, that he was also a very greedy man. This made me consider looking at the story with the king as the character that gets his just deserves. So whilst writing the play I began with the king as very greedy and vain who loved to eat alot, so much that he had consumed all of the meat in the land, that he did not have a care for his kingdom or his subjects and a desire to have everything for himself, especially lots of gold. Iain plays the kings role and, after eating al of those pies, is like you have never seen him before!
I also felt a little sad for Rumpelstiltskin. What did Rumpelstiltskin want with the baby anyway, and was there a rescue mission going on before the king realised he would one day be userped by his offspring? This became a significant thoguht whilst writing the script and I wanted to play on the noton that everyone thought the unusual creature was malevolent rather than good.
The next decision was how to perform the characters of Rumpelstiltskin, the Miller and his daughter. It soon came about that Rumpelstiltskin was such an important character that it should be played by a performer. Being a physical performer myself I lept at the chance, after all Iain had the fabulous part of the greedy king. Whoopee what a part! So the Miller and his daughter naturally became the puppets. This didn't quite work with the king marrying the Miller's daughter as a puppet, however, the Miller having a wife and a baby rather than a daughter seemed to work and so the characters and puppets were created.
Three other characters help to charge the plot and add humour, back stories and physicality to the story. Derek and Chef are the fools that help to create a bit of intrigue in the story, especially after Derek's grandmother, the Royal Nanny gets put into the pie accidently. Then there is the 200 year old Chamberlain, the harbinger of bad news as far as the king is concerned.
Rehearsals have been great fun and as always it is a real privaledge for us to have the opportunity to produce a unique piece of family entertainment. We hope you can come along to join us and look forward to seeing you at the Soapbox and sharing our new show Rumpelstiltskin with us. Shows run from 7th - 8th and 14th -15th July at The Soapbox Children's Theatre.