Who is Bára Dočkalová?
Bára Dočkalová is a composer, author, teacher and playwright from Prague. Last year, her children's book Tajemství Oblázkové hory (The Mystery of Pebble Mountain) was nominated for Magnesia Litera, the top award for Czech children's books. She has written numerous plays for children, most of which include original songs, and made professional recordings of them. She is a trained English teacher and has developed her own teaching methodology based on drama education; she currently teaches at the Charles University Pedagogical Faculty. You can find out more about her work at www.actandspeak.com.
Are the songs based on real stories?
Yes. They were written over a period of four months. Initially the children shared their stories with Bára, Leah Gaffen (the show's director), and the rest of the cast. There were many stories (some families had more than one and it was hard to choose which one we'd use for the show!). Together we decided where we'd incorporate songs into the show; it seemed natural that the "owner" of the song - the descendants of the protagonists - would sing some of the solos.
How did the project start?
Leah Gaffen, founder of Story Theatre and the show's director, came up with the idea of Journeys. Fifteen years ago, Leah created a (very different) show with another group of children which was inspired by Phebe Flarty, Leah's great great great great great grandmother, who was sent on the First Fleet to Australia in 1787 for stealing 3 muslin shawls. It was a story that Leah wanted to revive and create with her own daughter (now a member of Story Theatre). Then it occurred to Leah that it would be a more interesting process if the other kids in the troupe also found stories about their own ancestors. Initially many of kids were dubious that they would find something interesting. But over time, as parents, grandparents, and other relatives got involved, so many fascinating stories emerged.
What is Story Theatre?
Leah Gaffen founded Story Theatre six years ago with American actor Jay DeYonker in Prague under the umbrella of “Class Acts,” a community of families that organize cultural and literary activities in English . Story Theatre has produced 9 shows over the years, adapting classic stories such as Oliver Twist, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and The Tempest. Journeys was our first completely original show. Story Theatre is a place where the kids get together, speak a hybrid language of Czech and English, and make some great shows.
Currently Story Theatre is creating a new original show about communist Czechoslovakia called "A Star is Falling."
What will be on the CD?
The CD will consist of five songs recorded by Daniel Zezula of Studio Vranik plus a bonus track of music scored for a film in the show. Three of the songs plus the film score are from stories of the show (The Chocolate Song, Phebe's Lullaby, and Mango).
There are also two songs that were the opening and closing songs of the show (Journeys song and Suitcases). The CD booklet will include the song lyrics, individual stories from the show and many photos.
Who arranged the songs?
Vít Beneš, a talented composer and musician, worked closely with Bára to arrange the songs for piano, clarinet, and violin. The instrumentals were performed by children in Story Theatre.