Several years ago now, I wrote a Mini-Musical "The Tale of the Musicians of Bremen." Until recently, I don't think I truly understood that story. I usually dismissed it as un-musical. Who wants to be entertained by animals with obnoxious voices who think they are great singers? In my adolescent thinking, I missed the entire point of the story.
From my more mature vantage point now, I think I am coming to understand it better. This story is about FEAR of CHANGE and facing GROWING OLD -- two topics that the young have no use for whatsoever. Young people are all about embracing CHANGE. And they are usually very EXCITED ABOUT GROWING OLDER. But for people who are truly facing OLD AGE, they encounter complications of ill-health, becoming useless and unwanted, and possibly dying alone.
These are pretty heavy themes, and not the normal stuff of Children's Theater Musicals.
So how can this story be told with songs and staged in a way that is entertaining? Can it actually show many layers of meaning so that those with ears to hear and eyes to see can understand -- but younger children can still find humor and feel joy?
Hopefully, through this mini-musical, the plight of the animals can be seen for what it is --- a fable about facing the universal fears of CHANGE and GROWING OLD with doses of humor and fun songs to delight audiences of many ages.