A woman was asking me about our production of Cinderella which opens (and closes) next week. She was thinking of bringing her child along.
She said, ‘So how are you going to turn the pumpkin into a carriage?’
I said, ‘Wait and see.’
She said, ‘No, but tell me. I really want to know.’
I said, ‘I’m using the time-honoured techniques of low-budget theatre: diversionary tactics seasoned with a generous sprinkle of audience imagination.’
She said, ‘Well that won’t satisfy kids today. They’re all used to special effects and Disney. How are you going to turn the mice into footmen?’
I said, ‘I’m not. No mice. No footmen.’
She said, ‘But you have to have mice in Cinderella.’
I said, ‘Oh no I don’t, because a) I’m the megalomaniac director and b) I had a bunch of rats in my acclaimed 2008 production of Dick Whittington and they drove me crazy. So no more rodents. Instead I have a fabbo fox, a well-behaved magpie, two exemplary silk moths and a reliable pair of glow-worms.’
‘Glow-worms!’ she said. ‘You can’t have glow-worms. They’re horrible gloppy, slithery things that live in caves. They’ll give the kids nightmares.’
Not my glow-worms. My glow-worms have junior miners’ lamps on their heads and glowsticks to waggle in their chubby little hands.
She said, ‘I never heard of a magpie in Cinderella either.’
I guess that’s why she’s a business woman and I get to have all the fun.