In the story, the people in the village were regularly having their food stores raided and their fields trampled by the Oni monsters who had taken up residence in the nearby castle. Those monsters even stole all of their weapons. It was clear that the village needed a hero to go to fight those demons. Meanwhile, the old woman had prayed and prayed for a son whom they could raise to become that hero. Her husband could train him in the martial arts and he could go on a quest to save their village. Finally, just as she was about to give up all hope, the River Spirit comes up out of the water and brings the Old Woman a peach. She says that inside is a baby boy, the fulfillment of her desires. The Old Woman rushes home to show her husband, They are deliriously happy and set about to raise their son Momotaro.
When Momotaro is old enough, he sets off on his quest. Along the way, he is joined by three animal compatriots -- a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant. They sneak up to the castle and fight the Oni monsters. During the fight, the Kamikaze wind comes and blows away the Oni monsters. Momotaro and the animals return home as heroes.
As I was reading, I could see the play come together. The songs formed in my mind and so did the actions -- in Japanese Kabuki style, of course. This became a fun little show to write -- perfect for the 5-7 years olds I was working with in a summer camp that season. A story of bravery, with heroes, monsters, fantasy animals, Spirit dancers, a rippling river of fabric, little girls dancing with baby dolls, a dancing forest, and slow motion martial arts fighting. All I had to say was that this was a Japanese "superhero" tale, and the five year old boys were all over it!
So, in a few weeks, I am producing this show again as a Summer Theater Camp. Looks like we will have 27 kids between the ages of 5 and 10.
I am gearing up and preparing for the fun. Wish me luck!