Something that’s become an important part of this songwriting process has been to find children’s issues that can be addressed through these songs – it gives the children something tangible to identify with, and it’s kind of therapeutic for them to have their personal issues addressed. Here are some examples of my songs and the issues they address:
CORDELIA from King Lear – “I Don’t Know What to Say”
A song for when you’re feeling shy, or you don’t know the words to express how you feel.
JULIET from Romeo and Juliet – “It’s Just a Name”
For when they call you names, or get your name wrong, or don’t know your name…
HELENA from A Midsummer Night’s Dream – “The One Thing I Can’t Catch”
When you’re afraid that your friend is prettier or more popular than you.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS from The Comedy of Errors – “You Treat Me Like a Football”
What should you do when you’re bullied?
ACHILLES from Troilus and Cressida – “Butterflies”
For when you’re afraid, lacking the courage to do what you have to do…
Some of these are pretty serious issues that young children confront in their daily lives. Some of my other songs address slightly lighter concerns.
OLD SHEPHERD from The Winter’s Tale – “What Is This Thing I Found”
When you find something that doesn’t belong to you…
QUEEN MARGARET from Henry VI part 2 – “Crocodile Tears”
When someone is faking…
PETRUCHIO from The Taming of the Shrew – “I’m Going to Make You Love Me”
If you know what you really want, don’t give up!
IMOGEN from Cymbeline – “A Horse with Wings”
For those times when you miss someone who is far away…
Of course, I have plenty of silly songs whose raison d’être is just to gain a laugh or a chuckle, but even a song like my “Donkey Head” (sung by Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream) has the potential to be something more than just a song about your head turning into a donkey’s. It could be about how your friends might be afraid by your changed appearance (a nasty bruise? or braces, as Sohyun suggested) but it’s still you underneath. I’d better go away and do a rewrite of that one! If any readers have ideas of other children’s issues that I might address, please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments…