Wednesday, December 28, 2011

#4 - The Princess Scarlet

So, who is this Princess anyway?
Princess Scarlet was raised in the Kingdom of the Roses and given every advantage in life, yet despite always having everything she could ever need or want, she is not a selfish or cruel person. She is warm and caring. This could come from her love of fairy tales and plays. Scarlet has never had adventures of her own, so she has tried to hear and experience as many stories and shows as she can. She knows and has seen every one that the Kingdom of the Roses has had to offer - some even several times. It is because of these tales that she believes that people can live out their dreams. She believes that "Happily Ever After" can happen if given the chance. She believes in true love. She is impulsive and daring - ready to see the world and all it's exciting opportunities. When her mother was still alive, Scarlet made a promise that she would pursue her dreams, but now, it no longer seems like that will be possible. The time has come to put aside the childish fantasies and do what is best for the Kingdom of the Roses. Her father, King Rose Petal, has chosen a handsome young Prince for her to marry. The marriage will bring together two kingdoms and allow the people to thrive. What is best for the Kingdom - for both Kingdoms - is to marry, and Scarlet has accepted this ... and then she goes for a walk in the woods...

Beloved as they are, some princesses and heroines of the past have not been the best role models for girls. Ariel went to some pretty serious extremes for some dude. Olive Oyl could try saving herself once in a while. Don't get me started on that Bella Swan mess. To me, the greatest heroines are the ones who can stand up to the challenges - be more than the damsel in distress needing the big strong brave man to save them. Rupunzel, (in the most recent incarnation in Disney's Tangled) dreamed of seeing the world and adventure, and once she was set on the path, she wasn't about to let anyone stop her. Belle in Beauty and the Beast was willing to take her father's place as captive. She was brave and strong despite the terrifying beast and situation. I suppose Princess Fiona in Shrek is an okay example of a strong female once she got out of that tower, but she was pretty set on being saved by a handsome prince instead of just busting out and doing her own saving, which she was clearly capable of doing. Plus, she was pretty forgiving of her parents from locking her up there to begin with, but I digress.
Scarlet is strong and capable. Yes, she dreams of love and a life like the fairy tales she knows, but when the time comes to rise up, she grabs that sword and shield, throws on a helmet, and marches off toward dangers unknown. Mulan, Velma (in more current Scooby Doo), Olivia of Twelfth Night, Lisbeth Salander, Buffy Summers - these are strong women who don't need men to do the dirty work. They'll do it themselves and do it better at times while preserving their femininity. Even Maid Marion in Robin Hood is portrayed as a strong fighter more often than not.
The best heroes, female or male, are proactive and aren't content to sit idly as the events that affect them unfold to determine the course of their life. They take a stand.
Over the course of the Princess Knight, Scarlet learns who she is and what she is capable of. She might not have thought she could, but once her heart and mind are made up, she is able to charge off into the dangers of the world without hesitating to save the day. I don't want my nieces and the females in my life to want to be the weak. I want them to be strong. So, I hope that Scarlet's determination is a good example for them and others.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

#3 - Themes

What are you trying to say with this show? Is there a message, or is just entertainment?
One of the themes of the Princess Knight is that you don't have to be what anyone tells you you have to be. That is something I've lived my life by. Everyone seems to think they know how things are supposed to be, what you are supposed to do, but if every person is unique and different, how can anyone say what anyone else is supposed to be or do? We all have our own paths to walk, so the giant can be small, the evil witch can have a crush, and the hero can be ANYONE. We should never settle with "that's how it's always been". We should be ready to let life take us to new and exciting possibilities!
The whole show can be summed up with the lyrics from the opening song of the Second Act, "A Whole New Baron":
My how things can change from one day to the next.
You think you know how things will work, that it'll turn out like all the rest.
But it can only take a moment to choose a whole new path.
It can only take a moment to become a whole new man.

... or woman, or son, or wolf, or you, or a whole new anything.
As an uncle, I've tried to share the joy of uniqueness with my nieces and nephews. I visit my Aunt's and sister's elementary classes every year and just spend a day entertaining the kids with art and stories. I draw on the board - cartoons and silliness - and tell stories about what I've done with my life from kindergarten to today. I'm being a goof, sure, but what I try to leave them with is the knowledge that they can be who they are, and though people will judge them, in the end, being YOU is the best thing to be. It might be a bit hokey, but I it's something that I wish someone would've told me when I was in my more impressionable years.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

#2 - More of the story...

One of the things I'm hoping to do here is answer questions about the show. So, I sent out a tweet for a good first question, and here it is:

From kyanzasu:
Aside from the story, what is the Princess Knight all about?
Not the summary all over again, but the idea? This show is an amalgamation of every story I've loved in my life. It is an homage to classic Disney. It is the movies I adore. It is the musicals and plays that have shaped me as a storyteller. It is jokes that molded my humor. It is pieces of my life projected into these colorful characters. I set out to create a show that was everything I love about a lot of what has made me... well, ME. There are probably a hundred references in this whole show - from lines of dialogue, to characters, to names, to situations - to something else. I think if someone could find them all, I'd give them a hundred bucks (There's a nice challenge for someone out there!). Some of the references are pretty vague, but there really are a ton. There's Shakespeare and movies. There's Grimm Fairy Tales and comicbooks. And there's things from my own life too (though finding those references might be a bit tougher).
I used the tried and true "Once Upon a Time" as the basis because fairy tales are universal. The hero and the villain and the princess tale is so well known. And then I tried to spin it. I didn't want a Shrek though. I didn't want to just have pop culture references to push the show. Pop culture references date a story. In twenty years, most of the gags in Shrek won't work anymore. They'll be lost because the reference won't be part of the pop culture anymore. I enjoy the gags now, but they'll get dated and dumb (some already have). Now consider movies like The Sword in the Stone or Lion King. Those movies stand the test of time because the themes are timeless. There are jokes that still hold up because they weren't grounded by the era they were made in.
Now, I am in no way comparing The Princess Knight to classics like Lion King or the Sword in the Stone, but they inspired me to create this musical. I set out to create something using the themes of stories like those. I've set up a hero, a villain, and a challenge that is very typical and familiar. You know the drill here: kidnapped princess, hero to the rescue, yadda yadda yadda. But then I tried to take it somewhere else - somewhere unexpected - and yet still somehow familiar.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

#1 - The Show

Hi everyone! T.C. here ready to start reaching out via the internets with the first of many posts. As July 12th approaches, I am going to keep this site updated with lots of fun stuff. First up: What is The Princess Knight all about anyway? Initially, I thought I'd make the whole script available, but then realized that giving it all away could take some fun out of it. So, instead of dropping the entire play here, how about the kind of description you might find slapped on the back of the movie's box:

"Scarlet is an imaginative princess of the Kingdom of the Roses in this "Once Upon a Time" tale. After being engaged to marry to a typical Prince Charming, Scarlet meets Chester who just might be everything she has always hoped for. Meanwhile, the villainous Baron decides that he's going to "do what villains always do" and kidnap this beautiful princess. But things don't turn out as expected. The Baron kidnaps Chester by mistake. Scarlet, with the help of her loyal sidekick Lily, disguise as Knight and Squire determined to be the heroes.

What follows is a journey through the land of fantasy where we meet many interesting creatures - a Troll who wants to go to Knight School, a Not-So-Giant Giant, an evil witch with a girlish crush, a villain working through anger management with the help of a desperate Therapist, a Wolf who was once a man, a pompous yet brave Prince Charming, and a spunky fourth-wall-breaking servant.

The Princess Knight is a mixture of classic musicals and film set to original music and filled with quick wit and touching moments."

So, there it is. Now you've got the idea, but only the beginning of understanding what this show is all about. I'll be posting regularly with all sorts of things, but if there is something in particular about the show that you're interested in, let me know in these comment sections, or on the facebook wall.