A theatre show for children casts the most iconic fairy tale villain in a new light
The room is dark, and two characters can be heard chatting just onstage. They keep on with their banter until, after stepping onto the stage, they notice the audience, composed almost entirely of little children. The pair introduce themselves as the Chicken and the Big Bad Wolf. Chicken is friendly and outgoing, but cowardly, while Wolf is scary, rude, and boastful.
The two characters alternate in dramatic readings of traditional fairy tales retold: stories like Italo Calvino’s Zio Lupo, Chiara Lorenzoni’s Lupo Astolfo. All these stories have a wolf as their protagonist, but the “Big Bad” title gets more nuanced as we understand that all these protagonists are in fact the very same wolf standing there on stage, who has lived a complex life as both villain and hero. The final story, Anaïs Vaugelade’s Una zuppa di Sasso, seems to reveal the true nature of the wolf: a lonely and scary creature who still tries his best to be good.
The stories and the interactions between characters and with the audience where brought to life by the actors’ talent: stories, jokes and howls often mixed with the children’s gasps and laughter. At the end of the show, Wolf and Chicken managed to set aside their banter to just sit together and enjoy a cup of tea with biscuits, which were also offered to the audience!