(Warning: this is a thinly veiled effort to link my home-grown produce to storytelling. I apologize in advance for the strained metaphor.)
This summer, I have a volunteer cantaloupe growing in my garden. I've eaten one small melon already and yesterday picked this second. It looks like a regular melon, a little rougher for being organic.
I started thinking about how we take things at face value. "Here's the story." That's it. Here's the cantaloupe. Sometimes, though, we look at the other side, taking the story from a different character's point of view or veering off in another direction. Authors such as Gregory Maguire in Wicked or Jon Scieszka in The True Story of the Three Little Pigs do this.
I've been working on a new program, which includes a folktale connected to King Lear. The program is a set of stories, versions of which inspired Shakespeare's plays (more on the program in a later post). I'm telling Cap O'Rushes, a Cinderella variant, that begins with the king asking his three daughters how much they love him, just as in King Lear. Rather than going on with the life of the king and the elder daughters, Cap O'Rushes tells the story of the exiled youngest. It looks at the other side.
This ties in with the story preparation step of getting at the backstory, in order to understand the unspoken aspects of a tale, and to telling the story from another character's point of view or continuing a thread of a side story away from the original. In doing so, the original is changed in my mind. I hadn't realized I'd be doing that not as story prep but as the story itself in this particular program. I love it! One of the joys of being a storyteller lies in playing with possibility.
Here's the other side of the cantaloupe:
Looks like a happy hedgehog, doesn't it? Maybe I should be writing about the Grimm tale Hans, my hedgehog instead of Cap O'Rushes.