Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fourth Graders Explain the Artistry of "The Firework Maker's Daughter"

While reviewers have had the opportunity to weigh in on (and rave about) The Firework Maker's Daughter, we were curious to hear what our target audience—kids—thought about the production. In collaboration with Ms. Hsieh at P.S. 503 in Brooklyn, we asked a few savvy audience members to write about the artistry in the show. They might not be trained critics, but they certainly had some strong—and insightful—opinions.

Why did they use shadow puppetry in The Firework Maker's Daughter?

"I think they put shadow puppetry in the story to help show where the story was taking place and to add more interesting details to the show. Also, the puppetry for the elephant and his girlfriend made it pretty. If they were real elephants, it would be dangerous because people would scare the elephants. It would make the show messy and they would knock down the set for the show." – Gabriela

"Maybe they used shadow puppetry to make it cool and to make people interested. It made the drawings, pictures and costumes look cool and glow. It was a good way to show the story and not be boring. Also because when they put sand in the light it looked cool." – Chris

"I think they put shadow puppetry in the story because they didn't have a lot of time to make the sets. Also because people can't fit in a costume of a baby elephant. Another reason is that they can't put real water or lava or skeletons on stage so they used shadows. There were not a lot of people in the show so they needed to use shadows." – Arianna 

"I think they used shadow puppetry because if they used real props, like fireworks, the theater would burn. If they weren't using shadows when they put the characters in jail, they would need a cage. When Lila was going to the volcano, they would need to make a real volcano and water, boats, pirates and swords. I liked the shadow puppetry because it made it easy to understand the play." – Bryan

"I think they used shadow puppetry because they didn't have the things to make it real. For example, when Hamlet got put in jail, they  couldn't show the jail so they made a shadow puppetry jail. Also, they made Hamlet's girlfriend into a shadow puppet because they couldn't buy elephants. It would cost a lot of money. So they were smart for making it into shadow puppetry." – Josefina 

Why did they choose to tell The Firework Maker's Daughter as an opera?

"I think they they used opera to make it more interesting. For example, the king would have been boring if he said 'I will kill them.' Instead, he sang it. That makes it interesting. Another example is in the beginning. It would have been boring if Lila had just spoken. Opera makes it fun! My opinion is that opera is great idea. It makes the show more inspiring. Talking is good, but singing is better." – Matthew

"I think that the story is told as an opera because when the story is sad, you can feel the sadness when they sing. The songs in the opera made me feel a little sad. I noticed that when the girl was sad her voice started to change. It is cool that the songs could make you feel a little sad." – Marcela

"I think they chose to tell this story as an opera because it shows more emotion. It shows more emotion because you could hear how they are feeling instead of just seeing what they are feeling. You could hear if they are happy, sad, mad or any other feeling. Also, I think they made it an opera because it is more entertaining. Singing might be better than talking because it is more touching." – Angel

"I think the reason they chose to tell the story as an opera is because they wanted to make the story more interesting. If they just said their lines out loud it would be very boring. Opera is loud and interesting, and would wake up the audience if they are asleep so they can see the whole thing. If they didn't do opera, they would have to talk into microphones which is pretty boring, which would make people want to sleep during the show. That is why I think they made the show an opera." – Michelle

"I think they made the show an opera because it made the show more exciting and not boring, and so that people could hear them sing. They made it an opera because they wanted to sing and needed a singing show." – Henry

"I think they chose opera because maybe they want to show their feelings by singing. Also, I think they did opera because they want you to understand what is happening.  The people in the audience could also understand the relationships better." – Joshua

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