Miscellaneous Productions presents
An International and Indigenous Fairy Tale and Folklore Project
An authentic reading of the original fairy tales compiled in 1812 by the celebrated Brothers Grimm is grim indeed.
Though they later sanitized their own stories, and subsequent retellings were further prettified for nursery storytelling and Disneyfied for child-friendly movies, the original Germanic and other European folkloric tales they compiled as Grimms’ Fairy Tales, including “Snow White”, “Sleeping Beauty”, and “Little Red Riding Hood”, were essentially horror stories, rife with violence, bloodshed, and brutality. For example, the original “Frog Prince” was a story of the rape, defiance, and revenge of the princess.
MISCELLANEOUS Productions’ next community-engaged and youth-centred theatre work, Plague, will explore issues that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic, viewing the plague through fairy tales, myths, and animal wonder tales from Indigenous and international cultures.
In preparation, director Elaine Carol and other staff have been working with Jack Zipes, a leading expert in folklore and fairy tales. Throughout the creation process participating youth, in collaboration with professional artists, will subvert/decolonize the original Grimm story of plague, “The Pied Piper”, from an intersectional, anti-racist, anti-oppression, queer feminist perspective. Indigenous and international folklore and fairy tales will be featured in this exploration of dis/ease, child abuse and, the powerful, tragic consequences of broken promises in a time of plague, anxiety and uncertainty.
Zipes, a professor emeritus of German, cultural studies, critical theory, and comparative literature, is the translator of two major editions of the tales of the Brothers Grimm. His work focusses on the evolution of fairy tales and their social and political role in the civilizing process. With arguments based on the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, and more recently theories of cultural evolution, he maintains that fairy tales “serve a meaningful social function, not just for compensation but for revelation: the worlds projected by the best of our fairy tales reveal the gaps between truth and falsehood in our immediate society”.
The creation of Plague included a series of “Distance Hats” costume and visual art creation workshops held via Zoom with youth from throughout BC, and a virtual performance-lecture by Zipes filmed in Minneapolis by MISCELLANEOUS Productions’ professionals. Central to the process has been the idea of working with youth to explore the fairy tales, folktales, and myths from their own Indigenous and international cultures, learning to meaningfully integrate those tales with stories from their own lives.
In addition to his deep knowledge of fairy tales and folklore, Zipes brings to the project his own experiences as a co-creator of Neighbourhood Bridges, an internationally-recognized, community-engaged theatre program that uses storytelling and theatre to help children develop their critical and storytelling skills.
MISCELLANEOUS Productions is working in a long-term, community-engaged collaboration with culturally and socially representative youth to create this new, professionally-produced hip hop music theatre work to be presented at The Dance Centre in 2024.
As with other MISCELLANEOUS Productions works, a documentary film will be created that will incorporate elements of the final stage production, workshops, and the virtual performance-lecture by Zipes.
RESURRECTING DEAD FAIRY TALES
A Jack Zipes Lecture
With the goal of, as he describes it “unburying and reinvigorating dead fairy tales and their creators”, internationally recognized expert on folklore and fairy tales Jack Zipes gave an online lecture on February 17, 2021, discussing his recent work exploring important tales from the first half of the twentieth century, and his founding of his own publishing house, Little Mole and Honey Bear to bring back in print works from the 1940s that have been neglected in favour of flashier commercial products, breathing life into older fairy tales that deliver messages important to our times.
For example, in Yussuf the Ostrich well-known political caricaturist Emery Kelen tells the tale of a young ostrich who helps defeat the Nazis in northern Africa during World War II. In Keedle, the Great, first published in 1940, Deirdre and William Conselman Jr. sought to give Americans hope that the world can overcome fascist dictatorships. To the authors, the title character Keedle represented more than Hitler, but all dictators then and now.
In discussing these works Zipes introduced participating children and youth to what they might be missing by not being taught about certain periods of history, such as the early rise of fascism at the beginning of the twentieth century.
As Zipes states on his publishing firm’s website: “History is doomed to repeat itself. We must preserve the things that make us human, and stand up to forces that would tear our society apart”.
The lecture, filmed at the sumptuous Victorian Upson Room at the Walter Library at the University of Minneapolis in late October of 2020, directed by Elaine Carol in collaboration with a professional crew, was broadcast as a Facebook Watch event, with an opportunity for a live Q&A.
Resurrecting Dead Fairy Tales is available from our distributor Vtape here.
A Celebratory Workshop for Youth in a Time of Isolation and Quarantine
Distance Hats was another series of fun-filled *free* workshops conducted as part of the creation of MISCELLANEOUS Productions’ work Plague.
The project began with the distribution of 200 art kits to representative youth groups in British Columbia. Participating youth engaged via Zoom with professional costume designers, a woodworking master and stilt walker, a theatre and film director, and a visual artist specializing in using recycled objects. The artistic team worked with youth participants to create a collection of imaginative big hats, each relating to the youths’ interpretations of fairy tales and folklore from their own cultures, and from their imaginations.
With an emphasis on process rather than product, the workshops were based on a project coming out of schools in South China and were focussed on serving the particular needs of artistic youth during this complex time of plague and uncertainty.
After the hats were created, and through a series of theatrical improvisations, youth participants were encouraged to create fantastical characters from their respective cultural backgrounds and/or their imaginations with which to explore movement and sound within the confines of the “Zoom Box”.
This workshop was filmed for the purposes of documentation for our website, social media platforms, grant applications, and promotional material. All participants or their parent or legal guardian were required to sign an image release waiver to join.
THE SUSAN POND MUSIC 101 PROGRAM FOR YOUTH
A Series of "Music Industry 101" Workshops
The Susan Pond Music 101 Program For Youth is a series of Music Industry 101 workshops for youth and young people interested in becoming professionals in the music industry.
This focused series is for youth in under-served British Columbia communities. We hope to share knowledge and resources, and foster connections between musicians, composers and other music industry professionals and marginalized youth who do not otherwise have access to professional arts programming or training, because they live in communities that are chronically under-served in this regard.
Our chosen panelists all have varied career trajectories, but all are successful working musicians, composers, producers and educators all also have previous experience working in community-engaged projects with at-risk youth.
Workshop topics included how to access grants, scholarships, and bursaries, creating an electronic press kit, harm reduction, substance misuse, sexual harassment, and mental health in the music industry, digital hygiene, privacy and cyber bullying. Participants were encouraged to be aware of their own comfort levels and potential triggers.
The program is named in memory of Susan Pond (1939 To 2019) and her important contributions to MISCELLANEOUS Productions.
with Ann Marie Fleming
The free Film Workshop was designed to share knowledge and resources and foster connections with marginalized youth who wish to work in the film and television industries but do not otherwise have access to professional film/TV programming or training.
Youth we served in this project included lower income youth in communities that are chronically underserved /underrepresented in access to training and educational opportunities in film.
We presented internationally renowned filmmaker, Ann Marie Fleming and clips of her work in this two-hour online workshop geared to culturally and socially representative, at-risk, and experiential youth.
Ann Marie talked about her impressive body of work, how to work with adapted material, biographical material, how she works with her DOP and editor, and how she collaborates with other professionals when she makes a film.
She also provided some information as to where young people who want to become filmmakers can apply to reputable film schools, apply for grants and bursaries, and volunteer for community art projects where they can get their first professional experiences.
20.5 - MISCELLANEOUS Productions’ 20th Anniversary
Facebook Watch Party
In the final installment of the online celebration of our 20th Anniversary, on February 26, 2021, MISCELLANEOUS Productions presented the world premiere of AWAY with HOME, a professionally produced 57-minute video of a live community-engaged, co-creation performance at The Dance Centre in October 2019.
We presented this Watch Party in March, 2021.
For a full year, director Elaine Carol worked with youth who drew from their own personal experiences. With MISCELLANEOUS Productions’ professional team of artists, community support workers and technicians, we created an entirely new work that explores issues of immigration, racism, mental health, bullying, maturation, family, victimization, identity and belonging.
AWAY with HOME is a transdisciplinary performance work that features five youth from the community ranging in age from 14-21. AWAY with HOME combines contemporary and Streetdance, neo-soul and hip hop music, Taiko drumming, image theatre and performance poetry together to examine the thematic questions.
After the online screening, we held a live Q&A with the cast of AWAY with HOME moderated by Elaine Carol and surprise guests.