A girl saves the day: Hear, hear

Dec. 14, 2013 @ 05:07 PM

The dearth of girl heroines in television shows and children’s movies has been attributed to a lack of women in the leadership roles that get shows on TV and movies in theaters. This is true. But it doesn’t have to take a woman to give a girl her due.
Local playwright Howard L. Craft reimagined the story of the Pied Piper, which has an unfortunate ending, into the musical “Indigo Blue,” being performed this weekend by Walltown Children’s Theatre at the Durham Arts Council. In the play, it is a girl who sets out on her own to save her brother and other children. She’s the mayor’s daughter, not a princess. She doesn’t have to be a butt-kicking princess. She can just be a butt-kicking regular girl who is smart and seeks collaboration (and advice, amusingly, from a retired cookie wrestler).
I interviewed Craft and others involved with the musical when it opened Thursday, and my story ran in Friday’s paper.
“We don’t see a lot of fairy tales with the girl as the hero,” Craft told me.
Sure, lately princesses are becoming heroes, and that’s cool. It’s progress. Merida in Disney Pixar’s “Brave” is an adventurous girl who rides horses, shoot arrows and doesn’t care to choose a husband. But when the second round of toys came out, Merida assumed the unreal body type of other princesses. That was disappointing. Two steps forward, one step back. However, the latest Disney film, “Frozen,” has gotten good reviews for its female portrayals.
We know that what we see on screen is not reality, but it would still be nice to see it reflected a bit. So instead we have reality on stage, set in a fairy tale, reflected back at us. “Indigo Blue” has many highlights, but as a woman who still likes princesses but has no desire to be one, seeing a girl save the day made my day. That girl who saved the day in “Indigo Blue,” by the way, is a character named Mariposa and played by Eileena Boyce, who has a beautiful voice. Role models are abundant in the production, with men and women and boys and girls of all races and ages and sizes and backgrounds collaborating on an entertaining event.
I interviewed a few cast members, and 9 year-old Abigail Garcia-Gomez told me what she liked about being part of Walltown Children’s Theatre. Her reasons included a wonderful reason for any of us. “I like that we can feel like we belong here,” Abigail said. I like that, too.
Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan may be reached at dvaughan@heraldsun.com or 919-419-6563.