I was so excited to finally talk to Melissa Sarno, who has been a blog friend since 2011! Her first middle grade novel was released a month ago, and we recorded a fun interview talking about balancing writing and, well... everything else in life!
I was excited to see the Fun Home play because I wanted to see how a graphic memoir would translate to stage. I've see picture books as plays, and other "classics" like Peter Pan and Lord of the Flies. But for some reason it wrinkled my brain to imagine the little boxes of a graphic memoir on stage.
It wasn't until after I saw the play that I broke it down further in my mind and thought about how it was a graphic memoir - based on real life, so of course it would easily transfer to a play, because the action was done by real people in the first place.
I did love how it was done, though. The artist Alison Bechdel stood at her art table and watched the action of younger Alisons interacting with her family. After something happened, she would say "Caption..." and brainstorm possible explanations to put with her drawings.
I wasn't a huge fan of the songs. They were gorgeous but I think there was so much action and emotion to explore in the story itself without it being turned into a musical. That being said, the kids' song about the funeral home was definitely my favorite part of the night!
It's always interesting to see how a book translates to other forms, most commonly movies, but also plays, musicals, and graphic novels.
My son and I went to see Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day on stage at the Circuit Playhouse. It was a show that the actors took to school visits, but they also do a couple showings on a Saturday for the public.
I remember loving this book as a kid, but hadn't read it since. We got it from the library and read it the night before. It was still a good book, but I was really interested in seeing how it could translate to a play. It seemed fairly short and there's not too much story since it just covers one day.
I was so impressed with the play! It was developed nicely and the songs were super catchy. I guess songs are not only a great way to grab kids' attention, but also a great way to flesh out the play. It was about 45 minutes long - another good thing for a kid's play! We both enjoyed it a lot, and are looking forward to seeing other picture books in play form!
We had also previously seen Miss Nelson is Missing. this was another childhood favorite of mine - so much so that we read my original copy before we saw the play! This play was also a school visit show that we saw at Circuit Playhouse on a Saturday morning, about 45 minutes long. The songs in this one were so fantastic, I have been searching for the soundtrack, emailing people, everything! I absolutely loved it. The story was great too. Of course that picture book is a bit longer than Alexander, and has more of a story that can be expanded into something more substantial on stage.
Seeing picture books come to life on stage is such a great way to enjoy a story beyond the pages of a book, and it's something we look forward to doing more of thanks to our local playhouse.