Mixing Stories

I’ve been watching Into the Woods this afternoon, and it’s made me think about mixing stories.

For those of you who are unfamiliar,Into the Woodsis a musical that takes several fairy tales and blends them in interesting ways to make one united story.  Rapunzel, Cinderella, Jack and the beanstalk, even Little Red Riding Hood are all mixed, with their characters intertwined by the princes (who are brothers), the witch, and two introduced characters, a baker and his wife.  The baker is really the key piece – Rapunzel is his sister, the witch who stole her is his neighbor, Red buys bread from him, and he and his wife have to collect four items from the other characters to break a curse.  (The items are Cinderella’s shoe, Jack’s cow, Red’s cape, and Rapunzel’s hair.)  The baker even ends up playing the role of the woodcutter for Little Red, saving her from the wolf, and he’s the one who gives Jack the magic beans.

And that’s just the first act!

It’s fun to take traditional stories and intertwine them.  When you start to think about fairy tales, it becomes even easier.  Many feature a prince – perhaps they are the same prince?  Maybe they are rivals, or brothers.  There are also lots of stepmothers, evil queens, and witches.  Can a witch from one tale marry a king and become another story’s evil queen?  There are so many possibilities!  I think I might want to play with this a bit more…