If I Was a Mouse I Would Hide in Your Hood
The myth that creating work for children is the easy option may have been busted years ago, but clearly not everybody got the memo. Musician, composer and presenter Paul Rissman is a leading light in the field of children and young people’s music, and an enthusiastic champion of the genre – but even he has to defend himself sometimes.
‘Somebody once asked me whether I thought it was a lesser thing to write music for kids,’ says Rissman. ‘And I think that actually, it’s almost the opposite of that. It could be the first time they’ve heard an orchestra or been to see a show at the theatre, and it feels like an incredible privilege and a very important job to get it right.’
Rissman’s latest creation is the underscore for If I Was a Mouse I Would Hide in Your Hood, a new play for 3-6-year-olds by Glasgow-based theatre company, Reeling & Writhing. As the name suggests, the show centres on a shy rodent who longs for adventure but spends most of her time hiding. Until a new family moves into the house where she lives in a crack in the wall, and magical things start to happen.
Rissman’s music has been tailor-made for young ears and sets the scene, gives each character their own theme and helps the two performer-puppeteers drive the narrative along. ‘My job is to present a world which is both exciting and believable,’ he says. ‘I don’t have to dumb down my musical language for children, just choose the right kind of sounds. And I’m so used to writing music for this age group that I have a good sense of how long things need to be from an attention span point of view. It’s a world I feel quite comfortable in – which says a lot about me!’
Howden Park Centre, Thu 4-Sat 6 Mar; Platform, Glasgow, Mon 8 Mar then touring