Ersatz

Petite sorcière [Little Witch] 

A contemporary fable for cat pie and super-smart witches

“Okay, you’re going to pretend you’re a witch: follow your instincts and do whatever it takes to survive”
Big Witch, in Little Witch​​

Petite Sorcière_Solo_Bande-annonce from Projet MÛ on Vimeo.

This powerful story, a blend of intrigue and goosebumps, draws upon the fairy tales of Perrault and Grimm to invent the witches of today, stubborn and tough, just the way we like them! In this theatrical adventure, after Petite Sorcière (Little Witch) loses her mother, a predatory ogre promises to watch over her, until the day the pact is broken.  

Nini Bélanger, the intrepid director, daringly creates two shows based on the same story: a hair-raising solo version for children five years and under, and a 4D version for older kids with four brilliant performers. Something for every age group!  

By the way…

You can read theatre too! Check out Pascal Brullemans’ play, and, if you really want to keep enjoying the experience, you can check out all of his plays!


Credits
Script: Pascal Brullemans / Director: Nini Bélanger / With Emmanuelle Lussier-Martinez for creative work and Maude Desrosiers for the revival (short version), along with Catherine Allard, Dany Boudreault, Myriam Gaboury and Gaétan Nadeau (long version) / Production: Projet MÛ

Podcast pathway 

Here’s a treat for the senses: there’s now a podcast version of Little Witch. Before starting, here are a few tips to enhance your listening experience:

Find a comfortable space, with just enough light.

How about keeping a blanket nearby, and maybe someone to listen along with you, and something comforting to hold onto.

Immerse yourself in this story by closing your eyes and experiencing the emotions that come and go.

Soundscapes   

Everywhere Little Witch goes, she hears sounds: so far, the forest has been moving and resonating. Near the fire, a kitten is purring. Farther away, music full of echoes and emptiness fills the ogre’s castle.  

What you are listening to was created and arranged in the lefutur studio. The people there are the sound designers for Little Witch! To learn more about how they work with sound, we asked them a couple of questions.  

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What do you think the role of sound in theatre is all about?  

The reason we like theatre as a medium is that while it shares many conventions with television and movies (which makes it accessible), theatre is live, and draws even more upon our imagination and our sense of poetry.  

In theatre, sound can completely change how a play is received, which means that it’s very important for us to remain subtle. Most of the time, we try to enhance or contrast parts of the play rather than underscoring them too obviously. From another standpoint, it’s sometimes extremely useful to be able to draw attention to or even accentuate one particular aspect to give it a larger-than-life dimension.

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What kinds of household or outdoor sounds can you use to make music?

At home, you can use pots partially filled with water, which you can hit and move around to get all kinds of cool sounds. We also like to use plastic plates with rubber bands around them (for a really inexpensive guitar). You can also use a hand mixer (ideally with continuously variable speeds, ha! ha!) to create tunes while cooking a meal. If you happen to have a phone or computer with a microphone, you can record sounds, giving you endless possibilities. 

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What’s your favourite sound, or sound texture?  

Generally, we have a soft spot for “woody” sounds that really come from wooden objects and instruments, or that resemble these kinds of sound characteristics. For us, they evoke nature. There’s something living, warm and imperfect about them.  


Want to learn more? Read the full interview (in French only) on the lefutur website and find some bonus questions!

Spotlight on the poster

An adventurous kitten and a gloomy dungeon. Check out each of the posters...  

Do you get the same feeling?  

What are the differences between the two works?

What do they tell you about the show?

 

Artist Julie Charland created these posters for the two versions of the show. Now it’s your turn! Begin by reading the play or listening to the Little Witch podcast. Then, with the story in hand and your creativity bubbling over, come up with your own poster.  

1. Which image from the play struck you in particular? You could use it as the basis for your work! 

2. Let’s talk about colours now! Trust your intuition: based on words and sounds, what colours come to mind?

3. And where would you like to place the title? What lettering should you use? Even the style of lettering can tell you a lot about the world described in the play! 

The witch figure: Courage and resourcefulness through the ages 

Witches, who were initially worshipped, and afterwards feared and hunted, have created their own path over the centuries, one of independence, solitude and freedom, combined with laughter and energy. Here’s a short story about a witch in three flashes:

Knowledge of nature

Animals of the fields and forests, wild plants, stars: the witches of yesterday and today know everything there is to know about these wonders of nature. There’s nothing new about this expertise! In the 15th and 16th centuries, witches were indispensable to the community: they were often midwives and healers, and embodied life itself.  

To immerse yourself: listen to the whispering sounds in your backyard or garden. If the environment is right, a single trip can get you closer to this scintillating world. And yes, handbooks, like modern books of magic spells can teach you all about nature and its magic. 

“I’m definitely happy I’m a witch because
my eyes can see beyond appearances.” 

—Little Witch

Intuition 

What exactly is intuition? A modern witch, writer Fanie Demeule, said that it was “an inner spring out of which you can draw bucketfuls of inspiration.” Or again, she says that it’s her “only real compass.” Some witches make it an everyday practice. Creativity, ingenuity and handbooks… you can find it all within you.  

To immerse yourself: Before a creative activity, competition or when you have a decision to make, listen to what your inner self is telling you. Becoming aware of what we feel is already a good start! 

Connection to mystery

“We need mysteries, because they teach us humility.” These words were spoken by the grandmother of the Ojibwa people. Witches from everywhere engage in all kinds of rituals, recipes and charms to connect all these unknown people to the mystery. But sometimes, it can give you a fright! Witches have been subjected to great injustices: people wanted to get rid of them because they were imagining all kinds of things about them and did not understand their perception of the world, imbued as it is with mystery.   

To immerse yourself: What do you find mysterious? It’s easier to begin with small things, and then work towards bigger ones. Take the moon as an example: you can look at it, gradually get to know it better, and at the same time accept what is mysterious about it.   

Psst! To learn more, check out the history of witches in the podcast (in French only) entitled La puce à l’oreille

Create a magic flower  

Medicinal flower – Paper flower – Flower of remembrance, to hold in your hands!

Okay, it’s true that it’s sometimes hard to find it in the woods, but here’s a magic origami trick: all you need is a sheet of paper, and a few folds later, a flower springs to life. Put it on your night table, offer it to someone you like, or hang it secretly on a plant in the house.

Your turn to play!
Don’t forget to send us a picture of your creation! 

OGRE: You’re wrong, there’s no such thing as magic flowers.

LITTLE WITCH: You don’t have much imagination.

—Excerpt from Little Witch 

Create your little magic flower 

The younger children might want to get involved too. On a tree leaf that you can find lying on the ground, paint a magic flower or a little forest creature. Magic, you say? Invent its hidden power… in fact, why not make a whole bouquet!

Why do we love cat videos?

What can you do? A little furry thing with big eyes, a pink nose and adorable paws turns us into mush. Why is that so loveable? 

There’s a scientific explanation for this phenomenon. Our reaction to cat videos is, according to specialists, related to the protective feelings and empathy we have for children. But there’s more to it than that! You know, when we find something so cute, it almost hurts us inside… it’s because seeing something that cute gives us the same intense pleasure as winning the lottery!  

Psst! The phenomenon is analyzed in this article from La Presse. (In French only)

via GIPHY

Still curious?

Here are some suggestions to continue your exploration:

Additional resources 


Reading list

For younger children 

  • Mes contes détournés, Michaël Escoffier and Séverine Duchesne, Éditions MIC MAC, 2014 (picture book, 6-10 year-olds)
  • “Le chant qui enlève la peur”: Sarcelle, Hélène Paré, Éditions Planète rebelle, 2015 (story, 6 years and over)  

For older children  

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