The last few weeks I have been researching a range of starting points to use at a theatre festival to inspire original pieces of theatre. The key theme I have been looking at is SHADOWS. For this blog I thought you would find it enriching to see what types of stories, music and poems I found. Hopefully some will inspire you, and they will be used as starting points in your own devising work.

To start with I thought you would find it interesting to read about the significance of Peter Pan’s shadow, in Shades of a Shadow Symbolism in J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, by Elizabeth G. (2007).

‘One of the most well-known and best loved literary fantasies of this century, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan romanticizes the world of childhood. While pirates, mermaids, and fairies give the story intrigue and adventure, Barrie’s underlying themes are seen most clearly in the play’s subtleties. In John Caird and Trevor Nunn’s enhanced version of the play, descriptive stage directions and narration contribute to the audience’s awareness of these otherwise veiled aspects. Of particular interest is Peter’s shadow which somehow “falls off” in the first act.

The notion of a free shadow, detached from its source object, is rather peculiar. In order to explain its purpose in the text, Barrie’s themes of courage and fear, fantasy and reality, happiness and sadness, strength and weakness, and past and future must be kept in mind. A possible symbol of each of these elements, Peter Pan’s extraordinary shadow sheds light on childhood and the process of growing up.’

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A story that may inspire you is Shadow – A Parable, by Edgar Allan Poe (1850).

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the Shadow:

Psalm of David

‘Ye who read are still among the living; but I who write shall have long since gone my way into the region of shadows. For indeed strange things shall happen, and secret things be known, and many centuries shall pass away, ere these memorials be seen of men. And, when seen, there will be some to disbelieve, and some to doubt, and yet a few who will find much to ponder upon in the characters here graven with a stylus of iron.

The year had been a year of terror, and of feelings more intense than terror for which there is no name upon the earth. For many prodigies and signs had taken place, and far and wide, over sea and land, the black wings of the Pestilence were spread abroad.’

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Below are a few pieces of music that focus on shadows:

Peter Gundry – The Shadow’s Bride:

Derek Fiechter – Dance of the Shadows:

And, finally, the poem Shadow by Christie Ann Martine:

I hope that you find these inspiring for your own work. Happy collaborating and devising.