LITTLE RED is a rambunctious musical that re-imagines the beloved fairy tale. Consider this resource a magical forest’s pathway for imagination and critical thinking! Follow along to discover questions, empower resiliency, and provide the “once upon a time” behind the original fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood and this new musical adaptation.
ABOUT LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
There is scholarly evidence that the origins of Little Red Riding Hood came from a warning to children to avoid the forest in the Middle Ages. The first literary version, Le Petit Chaperon Rouge, was published by Charles Perrault (in the same collection that included Cinderella) in 1697.
The Brothers Grimm published their version, Rotkäppchen, in 1812. This version originates the inclusion of a gamesman, later a woodsman, to the story’s conclusion. Since these initial publications, the story has been revisited, often removing both the violence and pedantic tone of the originals.
Little Red Riding Hood is rich in symbolism and tropes reflective of the eras in which it is told, providing scholars, authors, and illustrators a never-ending offering of interpretations. As translator and literary scholar, Jack Zipes notes, “Little Red Riding Hood will most likely undergo interesting changes in the future, and the girl and her story will certainly never be eliminated by the wolf.”
ABOUT LITTLE RED
When considering an adaptation of a traditional fairy tale for the stage, Little Red Riding Hood was an ideal choice. The original has a resourceful female character at its center and one that is the third generation of similarly independent women.
Elements of the original story suggest the importance of the natural environment, accountability, and a sense of adventure based in responsibility.
As with every story, new and old, there must be a conflict and the big bad wolf certainly provided one of fear and ferociousness in the original versions. In this version, answering the question, why the wolf behaves the way that he does was an important aspect in the script’s development. Realizing that everyone (even big bad wolves of fairy tales) has dreams and fears is a crucial component of social and emotional development.
This adaptation invites other fairy characters into the forest. Each character depends on the others for advice, guidance, and empathy. These qualities, in turn, become the pillars of the forest’s stewardship as well as the self-sufficient, cooperative community of its denizens.
A happily ever after, indeed!
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUNG CHILDREN
What did you already know about the fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood, and its characters?
Were you familiar with the Three Little Pigs, Hansel, Gretel, and The Boy Who Cried Wolf? His name is Shep in this version.
What surprised you about these characters being added to Little Red’s adventures? Did you hear mention of Snow White, Little Bo Peep, and the Three Bears?
The wolf is given a full name, Wolfgang Mozart, and is described as a vegetarian (someone who does not eat meat). Wolfgang is faced with a lack of food and is threatened with being moved. As you discovered this about “the big bad wolf,” how did your understanding of him change? What else did you enjoy discovering about the wolf?
What would happen if the fairy tale was called, Little Red Wolf and the Big Bad Girl?!
If Little Red Riding Hood was set under the sea, what changes to the story and characters would you make? What characters from other fairy tales and nursery rhymes would you add?
What other settings might be fun and surprising to set Little Red and her story? (i.e. space, circus, rainforest, etc.)
A LESSON IN RESILIENCY
Even when faced with challenges and fear, Little Red remains calm and focused. If you find yourself afraid or anxious, try these soothing tips to lower your fear and raise your resiliency:
- Focus on physical sensations, which will bring your mind away from “thinking” to “experiencing.” For instance, what are five things you can see, four sounds you can hear, two scents you can smell, and one taste in your mouth?
- Make a fist with one hand. Press the fist into the open palm of your other hand. Slowly relax your fist, allowing it to open while concentrating on how it feels and allowing your breathing to slow down.
- Pulling gently on your earlobes works to relieve stress by stimulating ear pressure points.
- Hold your hand up, spreading your fingers wide. Imagine that your fingers are candles and slowly ‘blow’ each one out, folding each finger gently into your palm.
- Give yourself some positive self-talk: “I am brave.” I am smart.” “I am capable.” Remember, you can always share your feelings with an adult.
- Little Red advises, “look for the red!” What colors make you feel good? What objects – a toy or maybe even a food? Do you have a favorite person/pet that helps you remember your strengths?
For these and other family activities designed to support LITTLE RED, visit denvercenter.org.
Oct 5-Dec 23 • Weeks Conservatory Theatre