teacher resource pack - Unicorn Theatre

teacher resource pack - Unicorn Theatre


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BADDIES: THE MUSICAL A Unicorn production

FOR SCHOOL YEARS 3 – 7 | 3 NOV - 24 DEC 2015 FAIRYTALE VILLAINS AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN THEM BEFORE… Sure, I eat people’s grandmothers once in a while, but that doesn’t make me a bad person... it makes me a good villain. So you think that being bad is wrong? Think again. In fact, it’s actually fine - and absolutely necessary if that’s your job. Which it is for the likes of The Big Bad Wolf and Captain Hook. Thing is, how do you know who is really good at being bad and who is really bad at being good? Sometimes it’s a little hard to tell… Step into the real lives of the fairytales’ most villainous characters in this sublimely entertaining, larger-than-life new musical for children and adults that features live music from the Prison Guard Players.  

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INTRODUCTION Welcome to the teacher resource pack for Baddies: the Musical, for teachers working with pupils in school years 3 - 7. These resources are designed to help schools extend and enhance their visit to the Unicorn by providing teachers with information about the production, as well as ideas for activities, both before and after watching the show. The full pack (with the practical activities) will be available online by July 2015. This shorter pack is designed to be an introduction to your visit and provides: an overview of Baddies: the Musical, interviews with the creative team behind the production and an indication of the drama activities which can be expected in the fuller pack for both primary and secondary students. We hope it will give you an idea of the range of possibilities for planning practical classroom work linked to your visit. At Key Stage 2, teachers will be able to use the visit to explore familiar and traditional stories and find links to Literacy, Music and PSHE. At Key Stage 3, teachers will be able to find links across the Drama, Music, PSHE and English curriculums.

ACCOMPANYING TEACHER CPD CPD is FREE for teachers is a great opportunity to find out more about the production and to gain practical experience of the classroom activities before working with them in the classroom. The sessions will also support teacher development in working through drama, which will provide skills that can be applied across the curriculum. Key Stage 2 – Fri 25 Sep 10am-4pm Key Stage 3 – Wed 7 Oct 4.30-7.30pm To book your place on either the primary or secondary CPD session, please email [email protected]

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ABOUT THE SHOW Baddies: the Musical imagines what happens when five notorious villains from well-known fairytales; the Big Bad Wolf, Rumpelstiltskin, The Ugly Sisters and Captain Hook, are under threat of being thrown out of their own by the Council of Bedtime Stories who want to rebrand them. The Council has decided that villains are irrelevant, a bad influence and ultimately unnecessary. They have decided that instead, children want and need tales of beauty - featuring heroes and heroines who look good and who succeed in everything they do. Under the council’s critical eye, the baddies are at risk of being transformed into bland, sugar-coated ‘goodies’ forever. Bad guys are out of Business Bad guys are out of Luck Bad guys are out of Business Bad guys can’t turn a buck. But if the Council succeeds in removing the baddies, what will happen to all their stories? Do we need the deep, dark woods and the beast lurking outside the door for the tales to work? If there are no more twists and turns, will there be anyone left to turn the page? Traditional fairytales, and the idea of ‘once upon a time,’ have existed for hundreds of years. Stories were orally passed down from one generation to the next until they were finally collected and written down by people like Charles Perrault and The Grimm Brothers. To this day, they remain as popular as ever, retold, adapted and transformed across many art forms including ballet, theatre, film and animation. The characters and motifs in fairytales are simple and archetypal; good vs evil, old vs young, beautiful vs ugly, heroes vs villains, rich vs poor. Both young and old readers enjoy these eternal struggles of opposites. However, in Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler’s Baddies: the Musical we are challenged to question notions of good and evil; who is really bad, who is really good and what do those terms mean anyway? In the process, the audience may discover a surprising level of empathy and appreciation for the more traditionally unpopular fairytale characters. Baddies: the Musical allows us to relish the fun of our familiar, much-loved stories being turned on their heads and asks us to think again about what we expect from and assume about the good and bad characters. ‘What does it actually mean to be bad? Are there different kinds of bad? The villains are obvious baddies, but they’re there for a reason – to make sure the good guys win. Are there other baddies in the world - ones that are less easy to spot? Ones that appear to be doing good, whilst actually doing bad?’ Nancy Harris, playwright

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A SUMMARY OF THE PLAY The story opens in a deep, dark forest where Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf are hard at work acting out their popular story. Just as they are about to get to the juicy part, the bit where Grandma reveals what big teeth she has, they are interrupted by two guards who arrest the Big Bad Wolf. He is whisked away to a cell where he discovers the other inmates are also all ‘baddies’: Rumpelstiltskin, the Ugly Sisters and Captain Hook. All have been captured and incarcerated, but why? The Big Bad Wolf is shocked to find that while he is happy to play the role of the scary villain, his fellow fairytale baddies seem to be as awful in real life as they appear in their stories.

We’re nasty through and through We don’t need friends, woo hoo If I had a friend, I’d rob him blind Ah’d kick him in his wee behind I’d make her clean and scrub the floor I’d catch her fingers in a door

But that doesn’t stop them complaining about how they are depicted to the outside world; Rumpelstiltskin hates people forgetting who he is and the Ugly Sisters detest being called ugly.

When you’re ugly they never remember your name Nor ask you to balls or to join in their games

Exactly how bad are these baddies? Are they innately bad or are they misunderstood? But the worst discovery for the Big Bad Wolf is when his terrifying, inner-wolfiness is fully revealed to the others, and himself. Once it has been unleashed, he worries whether he really is a monster and if it will put off his girlfriend - Cinderella.

I’m a monster An odious fiend What good am I to anyone outside fairytales? I could have torn out your hearts Eaten you limb from limb I’m a monster

Peter Pan and Cinderella then arrive at the cell under the authority of the Council of Bedtime Stories, to offer their services to the imprisoned villains. They, of course, are the goodies. Peter loves all things new age and wants to be the best at everything while Cinderella wants the world to be perfect and beautiful, just like her. She’s already been working on smartening the Big Bad Wolf up and says that she’s here to help the other inmates too:

If only you weren’t so disgusting Page 5


If only you weren’t so bizarre Your life wouldn’t need such adjusting And you wouldn’t be here behind bars

The two goodies introduce their master plan; a complete rebranding of each of the baddies so that they are pure and perfect and wholesome – so much better for children to read about. To win them over, Peter Pan tells the story of the Snuffalo; a once fearsome storybook character who was rebranded as the ‘Fluffalo’ to make him more appealing:

It wasn’t easy but I could see The Snuffalo had potential. Beneath that terrifying temper and ferocious snarl there was something better, bigger he just needed a little – readjusting. (Peter Pan)

Peter Pan and Cinderella explain that the Big Bad Wolf will have his claws and teeth removed and he will be re-launched as a loveable rescue dog. But what is really behind the goodies’ plan? Are they as good as they appear to be? Will the baddies be rebranded and, if so, what will happen to all their fairytales? Do we need the baddies to be bad in order to make the stories work? And will the Snuffalo finally get its meal?

‘The story contains a lot of fun and anarchy so the raucous, visceral energy which music can express makes it a great story for a musical.’ Mark Teitler, Composer

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INTERVIEW WITH NANCY HARRIS: WRITER What did you want to explore in the creation of Baddies: the Musical? We started out wanting to tell a great story about the villains in fairytales who we felt had been largely misunderstood, simply because they didn’t fit in. The Ugly Sisters are judged on their looks and similarly Rumpelstiltskin is an outcast because he’s small and weird. We felt these were unfair labels for the characters to be stuck with, which didn’t necessarily make them bad people. So we thought we’d write a musical telling things from their point of view, as misunderstood outcasts. But then as the story developed and the plot started to crystallise we realised it was more than just a story about misunderstood villains; it was a story about the nature of good and evil. What does it actually mean to be bad? Are there different kinds of bad? The villains are obvious baddies, but they’re there for a reason – to make sure the good guys win. Are there other baddies in the world ones that are less easy to spot? Ones that appear to be doing good, whilst actually doing bad? So the themes became deeper and more philosophical. We thought that was exciting. Did you know Marc before working together and can you explain more about how the collaboration worked? No, I didn’t know Marc, we’d never met before. But we’ve been really lucky. It’s been an ideal collaboration in that we get on really well and have a similar sense of humour; we like the same sort of music, films, plays etc. All of this is crucial as it means we’re on the same page with the show. Marc’s also very patient and tolerant and never makes you feel embarrassed if you have to sing (badly) in front of him, which I sometimes did when we were writing lyrics. What would you say Baddies: the Musical is about? Outsiders, friendship, and the different kinds of ‘bad’ that there are. What research and reading have you done in preparation for writing the piece? We read all the Grimm’s fairytales, went to see a lot of musicals and films but mainly we just tried to make ourselves laugh and tell a story that everyone could enjoy. If you were a fairytale baddie, which one would you be? I think I’d be Rumpelstiltskin. He’s a very misunderstood hero in my view and in our story he’s Scottish – and I like the accent.

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INTERVIEW WITH MARC TEITLER: COMPOSER How do you go about writing a musical? My initial focus is always on story, not music. Writing a musical is a huge undertaking so it’s crucial to be hit with a strong feeling that a story, apart from being brilliant, will lend itself to being told through music and song. It’s also important to feel real chemistry with the tale’s themes. With Baddies, the question about what it really means to be bad was quite close to my heart. At school, I was always being told off for one thing or another and was viewed as a born troublemaker. It felt to me like being boisterous and showing a curiosity in subjects that weren’t on the syllabus were terrible crimes. I also disagree with the desire adults often have to ‘clean’ out all the messy, dark stuff from stories for children in order to present a simplified, sanitised view of the world. That is very much an adult’s view of what childhood is or should be and, as far as I can tell, doesn’t bear much relation to the full reality. So Baddies was something I was dying to write. If it’s the case that a story is ripe for musical dramatisation, I find song ideas tend to emerge very quickly. During the first discussions Nancy and I had about the story arc of Baddies, I found the main musical theme that runs throughout the piece came to mind along with quite a few ideas for what the overall musical palette/style might be. Once I’ve really digested a story arc, I will work out in tandem with the writer, what the important pulses in a story are which is mostly where songs will happen. With Baddies, although Nancy and I were writing an original story, the process wasn’t radically different; once we had a reasonably detailed treatment of the story, we worked out where the songs needed to be and gave them all working titles (many of which have stuck). Nancy then went away and wrote a first draft of the script and I started writing the musical themes. We agreed who would write the lyrics for which songs and started having a go at first drafts of lyrics as well. After this, we came together again to read the script Nancy had written aloud, with the songs in place, to decide what the next draft needed. Purni (director of the show and artistic director of the Unicorn) also gave us really helpful feedback as to what she felt needed developing. As my natural sensibility tends towards the dark, I was pleasantly surprised when Purni told me it could go darker still. She loved the anarchy and mischief in the piece but after the first draft was completed she felt it needed even more of that in order to properly ask the questions we wanted it to. Why does Baddies lend itself to being a musical rather than a play? The story contains a lot of fun and anarchy so the raucous, visceral energy which music can express makes it a great story for a musical. Fairytales also have both an elemental and heightened quality which lends itself to music. Do you have a favourite song in the piece and if you have, what is it and why? ‘Live Dangerously’. It’s the song Cinderella sings to try to convince the baddies to sign up for Pan’s scheme. I find it seductive, cheeky and haunting.

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BADDIES: THE MUSICAL - TEACHER RESOURCES What are the main challenges in writing a musical? The first main challenge is finding a story or idea you fall in love with and which you can clearly see musical potential in. The second, and equally crucial, main challenge is collaborating with someone with whom you have extraordinary chemistry. It’s a joy to work with Nancy because she is generous collaborator whilst having a clear sense of what she wants. We love each other’s work. We have similar tastes in music, both of us love The Doors, Aretha Franklin, Tom Waits… and both of us grew up watching The Simpsons which has definitely been an influence on the piece. If you were a baddie from a fairytale, which would you be and why? The Big Bad Wolf as I like eating and hate shaving.

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CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES COMING SOON Full classroom activities will be added to this pack in July after we have developed them with teachers and children in our partner schools. They will offer a range of approaches to help you prepare pupils for seeing Baddies: the Musical and to extend the experience afterwards. Our classroom activities place a focus on using drama to explore responses to the play. Storytelling, writing and in-role exercises enable pupils to actively explore the ideas and questions which have arisen for them within the play. They will be able to investigate the things that matter to them within a fictional context, draw on their prior knowledge and apply it to new situations, develop language as they give expression to new understandings and promote emotional intelligence as they see things from a different perspective. The activities do not take an objective led approach; teachers will be able to make curriculum links for their particular year group and adapt them for their education setting.


An exploration of pupils’ favourite fairytales; why they endure and their place in our memory, culture and psyche. Using drama, storytelling and writing activities students share their own favourite stories and investigate what key themes and ingredients are necessary for the stories to work.

2) AN EXPLORATION OF NOTIONS OF ‘GOOD’ AND ‘BAD.’ Pre and post-show activities

Using pupils’ own choice of stories, these activities will start by exploring what we mean by ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and the effect using these labels might have on us. In a fairytale context, what function do both goodies and baddies play, and what would happen if there was one without the other? Focusing on the character of the Big Bad Wolf, and the moment when he discovers the wildness within him, pupils will explore the idea of the monstrous; what is it like to have tendencies you can’t always control and do your actions necessarily make you who you are?

3) THE COUNCIL OF BEDTIME STORIES Post show activities

Drama and in-role activities that will explore the idea of image, rebranding and the pressure to reinvent ourselves.

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BADDIES: THE MUSICAL - TEACHER RESOURCES Activities for secondary students will focus particularly on the idea of manipulating identities: - Is there a difference between our real self and our public self? - How and why do we manipulate our identities? - What role do online identities have in presenting an altered version of ourselves to others?

4) A MUSICAL PLAY Post-show activities

Following your visit, these activities will investigate how the music is used in telling the story and the differences between a play and musical. They will explore: - How recurring musical motifs can be used to support the story or represent characters and ideas. - What the music and songs lend to the narrative. - How the composer’s choice of songs and score provoke certain emotions or represent themes to the audience. - Whether the music ever contradicts or offers an alternative take on what is happening. Work from the previous activities exploring the pupils’ favourite fairytales will be developed to allow them to create their own songs inspired by Baddies: the Musical.

Teachers will be able to download music extracts from the play to use in the classroom. All pre and post-show activities will include the following approaches: developing stories through freeze frame, reflective discussion, role play, writing, working in-role, small group scene-making.

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BADDIES: THE MUSICAL A Unicorn production

CREATIVE TEAM Book and Lyrics by Nancy Harris Music and Lyrics by Marc Teitler Story by Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler Directed by Purni Morell Resource pack written by Emma Higham