Thursday Think Tank: Fun Company Creatives!

If you’ve ever attended a Fun Company show, it’s obvious why we gave the Children’s show branch of the MET such a worthy name.  From the peals of laughter and “kids-say-the-darndest-things” comments coming from the audience, to the sheer enjoyment from within the show itself by the actors and technicians, everything is imbued with FUN.

Today’s post goes behind the scenes of the next Fun Company show: The Young Olympians and the Most Amazingly Awesome Adventure Ever! (aka “YO”).

Director Julie Herber* has been at the helm of countless Fun Company shows, and seeks to merge family comedy with education.  YO seems to be a perfect opportunity for just that, and promises to be a real pleaser for school groups, families, and mythology aficionados alike who have become familiar with Greek mythology whether it be in the classroom or through plays, literature and films such as the Percy Jackson series or Troy.

Playwright Sarah Shulman* gives us a play that follows the adventures of four young Greek heroes: Hercules, Jason, Perseus, and Andromeda, on the threshold of teenhood.  The four heroes attend a field trip to Mount Olympus to meet the great Zeus and Poseidon, when things become awkward.  Family ties are revealed (to the surprise and chagrin of some), and a mysterious curse comes over the gods, rendering them powerless.  It is then up to our fearsome four to solve the mystery and learn to work together to return power to the gods.  Shulman’s mythology savvy permeates the play and is made more accessible through her comedic dialogue.  Ever wonder what it would be like to see some kids argue with a cyclops?  Make fun of Medusa?  You’ll know when you check out YO!

Musician Thom Huenger brings to the show his expertise in composition.  Not only is YO a mythology-laden coming-of-age tale, but it’s also a musical!  Through careful crafting, Huenger and Shulman have created songs ranging from emo-rock to hip-hop to showcase these heroic characters and the challenges they face.  Huenger, a recent graduate from Shepherd University, has previously been music director for the MET’s A Clockwork Orange and performed in Planet Claire.  He also rocks the keyboard for Frederick-based band, Silent Old Mountains.

To enhance the show, YO is incorporating puppets and masks to serve as the mythological monsters.  Designers Devin Gaither*, Vanessa Strickland* and Justin Johnson are the team behind these creatures.  In the past few weeks, these three have been tossing ideas back and forth, coming up with design sketches, brainstorming about materials to use, and how to achieve a whimsical, stylized look for these timeless monsters.

So there you have it, a quick sneak peek at the brains and hands behind YO!  If your youngsters aren’t old enough to check out End Days this month, then The Young Olympians is sure to please them!  YO opens Saturday, March 31st, but in the meantime, keep your eye on this blog to see some cool updates about our creative process!

* – indicates MET Company Member