A Piece of a Jigsaw or a Jigsaw of a Piece

stained-glass

In the church of Hamelin, dated from c.1300, there was a stained-glass window described in many accounts between the 14th and 17th century which seems to have depicted a tragic historical event in the town. Unfortunately, the original window was destroyed in 1660, but a modern reconstruction based on these accounts now graces the church with its colourful depiction of the Pied Piper and children dressed in white.

In 1384, it was stated in town records that ‘It is 100 years since our children left’. No explanation can be considered true but from this event myth and folklore, as is often the case, grew.

Amongst these tales, the most enduring is the tale of the rat infestation and the bargain the town strikes with the mysterious piper to rid them of the plague.

This was to be our next challenge; a completely sung-through musical based on the well-known story with a moral.

To create the world of Hamelin, it was decided that we would be playfully anachronistic, drawing on popular culture and many different styles of music to tell the story in our own way.

That was our first challenge.

When the full score and lyrics were written, we decided that we would try something completely original and make the show totally inclusive for all abilities of company or school.

This was our second challenge.

Dances were written and scenes were elaborated on to include spoken dialogue to incorporate all three disciplines. These were produced as humorous sketches to elongate should a company want to fill a larger time period than the original sung-through.

In doing this, we have allowed directors and teachers to have what I like to call a ‘pick-n-mix’ production. This allows the piece to be played in many forms.

  • A one act sung-through piece
  • A two act shorter musical with or without dances (There are two markings for an interval in the script)
  • A one act musical with narration
  • Any permutation of the above

It is down to the company which scenes they use and which songs. The sung-through obviously stands alone, telling the story in its entirety. The scenes are useful to make an evening of it, as with the dances. As I write this, I am in the process of writing narration to cover each song, should a school or company wish to cut any music for the sake of ease or to make it accessible to all ages of performers.

The format is fluid and companies may wish to use a mixture of these things as it is developed in a way to mould the show to the abilities of the performers. A number of good roles have been added for non-singers. This is to give it the maximum level of participation for your company or school.

Have fun, play and enjoy.

Every piece of the jigsaw is there, the picture you make is yours.

CHRIS BLACKWOOD

Where next?

Request a FREE perusal script or make a no commitment licence enquiry. If you would like to discuss a production of Tails of Hamelin or any other IT&M show, please email Richard Thomas or call him on +44 (0)20 3405 2402.