Three little songs
Three little songs are three classic fairy tales adapted to the context of the modern world. The first story is about Little Red Riding Hood adapted to local teenager inability to communicate with parents; a retelling of Cinderella adapted to a contemporary Japanese family. The third story is Beauty and the Beast which is about a shut-in who is reluctant to go out from house, finally he had a girlfriend lead him out.
The promotional flyer for Three Little Songs uses a style of illustration like a picture book for kids, which I found to be quite pleasing.
The first impression of the set is attractive and eye-catching on the little house hanging with lights on, representing the Three Stories. The tree used in the set also functioned as a storage and side stage for the actors to hide their props and as a screen for the actors to do a quick costume change, which was a good idea.
After the performance, we had the opportunity to converse with the performers and learned more about the nature of the project and the challenges they faced.
For this project, they had engaged a director from Australia, Mr. Fraser Corfield as the playwright and the director to direct the four actors, three of whom are from Japan, and one from New Zealand. After meeting with the actors and discuss for what to do, the director had to return to Australia.
Working remotely, the actors rehearsed on their own, and used video conferencing to have the director watch their progress. They were only able to collaborate and practice together in earnest about two weeks before the show, when the director was able to return back to Japan. Even though they worked very hard to refine everything in those two weeks, the lack of time affected the story and development of the play.
A particularly enjoyable highlight for me was the performance of Kai Shimomura, who acted the role of the ‘stranger’ in the first story, the father in the second story, and the shut-in (beast) in the third story. I thoroughly enjoyed his natural acting style and control of the tempo.
Although Three Little Songs is stated to have been targeted at children aged between 6-13, my personal observation is that it’s probably more for teenagers, as the stories mostly dealt with more mature issues which younger children might not be able to make sense of.
The ATYA participant from Cambodia also brought up a significant issue about assuming the knowledge of your audience. These Westerm fairy tales were not known in his country, so he had no reference for the three stories and felt that they were very strange.