MET 2015 with Playwright Michelle Read – Session 13 – Thursday 7th May

This week we heard the remaining four story outlines and worked on the cause and effect with each group, again to make sure they made sense. It was really interesting to hear all the different ways the story could be interpreted and adapted.

In one story the mother is also the “wolf” as she sends Red Riding Hood to unwittingly poison her granny. In another the granny is an ex-assassin who, in the past, was sent to kill a rogue human experiment (Wolf), but Wolf survived and is now bent on revenge… In another the wolf character is an alien who wants to take over the planet and the woodsman is an FBI agent who stops him. All the stories used the “skeleton” of the original Red Riding Hood Story, but each group was very successful at adapting this story and its characters into a modern setting and effectively making a new story.

I asked each group to read back through their story and pick the scene they thought had the most dramatic potential. The groups discussed this for a few minutes and made their decision. I then handed out some paper and asked each person in each group to write their own version of that scene.

Everyone dived in and the room immediately had a very focused feel. As the children were writing I talked a little bit about how important story form is to humans. It’s one of the main ways we communicate meaning to each other and, it’s often how we try to understand and decipher large and sometimes impersonal issues or ideas. For example TV documentaries use story arcs to help explain complicated ideas in history or science and advertisers also use story narratives to sell things to us. This is because information is easier to remember in story form. Also, if something is happening to a character in a story, it is often easier for us to identify with them and therefore to understand the problem they are trying to solve – in Red Riding Hood’s case, how not to be eaten by the wolf. This is how stories help us to process and understand experiences that haven’t happened to us directly.

This Session: Identifying one scene from the adapted story idea. Beginning to write and dramatise this scene individually.

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