Q: I'd love to put together a play on how to use the Dewey Decimal System! Is that too mature for your kids?
A: What a cool idea, but it's a little advanced for our audience! A lot of them are still working on the concepts of "Big" and "Little", "Hard" and "Soft", "Loud" and "Quiet", numbers and colors and rhyming words and ABC's. Think closer to something you might see in a Sesame Street skit.
Q: I want to submit something, but everything comes out too preachy. Any suggestions?
A: Think along the lines of how a library can improve a toddler's life. For example, three plays that I've written for my library-- boy wants to be a comedian, boy only knows one joke, boy can check out joke books from the library. Or boy wants a pet, boy isn't quite clear on what you can do with a goldfish or a hamster, boy can check out books from the library to find himself the perfect pet. Or one friend goes to another friend's house for a slumber party, the guest is too bossy, the friend calls her on it, they find a compromise and decide to look into a book from the library about-- you guessed it! --how to have a sleepover. Make the problem funny, make the audience feel smart. The book or the library doesn't have to form the main component of the plot or be the setting, but if it doesn't, it should help provide the solution to the problem. You don't even need to show them reading the book, finding a funnier joke, finding the perfect pet, or finding a slumber party game both of them like-- it works better if you don't, because it leaves more to the audience's individual imaginations about what they found. Wrap it up nice and punchy. :o)
Q: What about fairy tale retellings?
A: A straight fairy tale retelling? Probably not. A fractured fairy tale? Possibly, but they're very present in the current body of literature for puppet plays. We're hoping to bring some new ideas into the niche, but we're not totally opposed to them. Using fairy tale/nursery rhyme characters in a totally new plot and setting? Go for it!
Q: My library doesn't have a puppet theater. What do they look like?
A: Puppet theaters vary in size, shape, and design, but they're probably not going to be able to hold a candle to the Von Trapp's private puppet stage. :o) Though some have backdrops, most just take place against the curtain. Rely less on props and more on dialogue. Remember, these puppeteers are amateurs! Be kind! :o) (I'll try and find some pictures and post them.)
Good luck, and feel free to write with a question if you need help with direction!