Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This Land is Your Land

This Land is Your Land
“I don’t know that song.”

Those are the words my niece Taylor said to me.  I had just started playing and singing the Woody Guthrie song, “This Land is Your Land” and she and her sister Emma were sitting on the living room floor of my sister’s house, listening.  I think they really just wanted me to play “I’m a Believer” since they knew that song from Shrek.  But I thought they may recognize the Guthrie tune since I remember singing it all the time when I was in elementary school. 

“Don’t you guys sing this song in school?”

“No.  We’ve never heard of it.”

For some reason, this incident has stayed with me for the past several years and I’ve wondered how many children out there don’t know about Woody Guthrie or any of his songs? 

So I decided I was going to write a children’s play about Guthrie using his songs.  And then I decided I wanted this to be a puppet play.  So now I have a new project for the coming year or so.  It may transform into something else, not necessarily about Woody himself—this is not going to be a biography.  It will be a snapshot of the depression-era and a look at this travelling folksinger who gave working-class people hope, joy, power and inspiration. 

Now I just have to convince my puppet friend to make the puppets.

The best part of this project is that I have such a specific target audience: my nieces Emma and Taylor.  I may have to use them as test subjects as I write the story.


Jenna said...

I know at some point you asked the question of your readers on this blog what we would like to read... So I'm asking what advice/process would you suggest to someone who would like to write a one-person show? How should I get started?

Dennis said...

Wow, that's a great question! And something I've been thinking about for the past year or so. I will give this some thought and then tackle on the site!