MERMAIDS AND WIZARDS AND DRAGONS: The Kindergarten Fairy Tale Opera Project

mermaid and dragon

I have already written about how First Grade Operas are created by the students at the Brooklyn Children’s School, and posted one, two, three examples.  If the First Grade Opera Project is the creating original music theater equivalent of riding a big kid bike, then the Fairy Tale Opera Project in Kindergarten is when creating original music theater gets its training wheels.

I join the Kindergarten classes just after the children have been learning all about fairy tales and folk tales.  Together we make lists of the elements of fairy tales, the kind of characters, places and magic we find in fairy tales, and then choose the characters, places and magic we want to include in our original fairy tale.

Each new fairy tale gets three songs the children create themselves.  When getting a group of five year olds to write songs they themselves will sing, it helps to encourage repetition of phrase or sentence structure as well as repetition of melodic ideas.  (Just as with first grade, when the Kindergarten Fairy Tale Operas are performed for their families, the Kindergartners all sing each song as an ensemble while individual children act out the song.)

mermaidFor our first example, let’s meet our heroine the mermaid who lives in an underwater castle.

A Wizard is besotted with her, and showers her with gifts:

THE WIZARD’S GIFTS

 

I WILL GIVE YOU GIFTS IF YOU MARRY ME PLEASE

I WILL GIVE YOU GIFTS IF YOU MARRY ME PLEASE

I WILL GIVE YOU A CROWN

IF YOU MARRY ME PLEASE

I WILL GIVE YOU A SEA PUPPY

IF YOU MARRY ME PLEASE

I WILL GIVE YOU MAKE-UP

TO POLISH YOUR FIN

I WILL GIVE YOU HAIR CHALK

TO DECORATE YOUR BANGS

I WILL SHOWER YOU WITH ROSES

IF YOU MARRY ME PLEASE

I WILL GIVE YOU A GOLDEN CLIP

IF YOU MARRY ME PLEASE

I WILL GIVE YOU GIFTS IF YOU MARRY ME PLEASE

I WILL GIVE YOU GIFTS IF YOU MARRY ME PLEASE

 

wizardThe mermaid tells the wizard it doesn’t matter how many gifts he gives her, she will not marry him.  So he casts a spell on her that puts her to sleep.  When she wakes up she finds the wizard has married her*.  She slaps the Wizard with her tail and swims away.

*I don’t think five year olds have heard about roofies or date rape, but I did point out to the class that what the wizard did to the mermaid was a very bad thing, and he would have to be punished.

The mermaid flees to a beach, where she is spotted by a dragon.  The dragon really wants to eat her.  It’s not a good day to be a mermaid…

dragon

I WILL EAT YOU UP

 

Chorus: I WILL EAT YOU UP

I WILL EAT YOU UP

I WILL EAT YOU UP RIGHT NOW

I WILL EAT YOU UP

I WILL EAT YOU UP

I WILL EAT YOU UP RIGHT NOW

 ——

I WILL EAT YOU RIGHT NOW

I WILL EAT YOU TODAY

I WILL EAT YOU TOMORROW

I WILL EAT YOU AT THE END OF MIDNIGHT

(Repeat Chorus)

I WILL EAT YOUR GREEN TAIL

I WILL EAT YOUR RED HAIR

I WILL EAT YOUR GOLD NECKLACE

I WILL EAT THE SCALES OFF YOUR BODY

(Repeat Chorus)

The wizard comes to the mermaid’s aide.  There is some confusing back and forth, but in the end the mermaid manages to escape and the wizard gets eaten by the dragon.  So I guess the dragon and the wizard both get their just desserts.

snow dragonThe mermaid flees to Antarctica, where she meets yet another dragon.  (“Oh no!  Not Again!” the whole class of Kindergartners shouts.)  But this dragon is a friendly snow dragon who shares her fish with the mermaid.

The mermaid decides she will like it here in Antarctica.

ANTARCTICA

 

I LOVE ANTARCTICA

IT’S FREEZING

IT’S SNOWING

IT ALSO IS BEAUTIFUL

IT’S CLOUDY

IT’S RAINY

IT ALSO IS GORGEOUS

THERE’RE PENGUINS

THERE’RE FISHIES

THERE’S ALSO A SNOW DRAGON

SHE’S FRIENDLY

SHE’S AWESOME

SHE ALSO IS VERY KIND

I LOVE ANTARCTICA

I LOVE ANTARCTICA

I LOVE ANTARCTICA

About dannyashkenasi

I'm a composer with over 30 years experience creating music theater. I'm also an actor, writer, director, producer, teacher and general enthusiast for the arts.
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