We asked some of the creative team:
What Inspired Your Fish in a Tree Design?
From the start, we were inspired by music while creating the piece. We often look to music to help define and create the world of the story.
Once we began to collaborate with other artists, we were constantly re-inspired by the artistry, the perspective, and the contribution of those on this team. The work of the full design team brings Ally’s world to life!
I did not have to go very far for inspiration, as I am dyslexic myself. I relate completely to this story and am so proud to be involved. I remember very clearly my own struggles with words and reading, and how music and art created a safe haven for creativity. But beyond myself, I love turning to books like The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse for image inspiration.
The wonderful amount of colors in the world! Especially when kids use them to make art!
Ally’s big book of imagination and impossible things!
My experience being diagnosed with auditory processing disorder (auditory dyslexia) in elementary school and my experience as an adult being diagnosed as autistic and doing work with groups of disabled people.
I have always loved the work of Mister Rogers, and as a result, took some of his creative process into my own! I want to approach things slowly and honestly as he did–with love. To look at Shay and see her goodness so I can understand why she might act with such hate and spite towards Ally. I also glean a lot from music! So I took time to curate a playlist of songs that gets me in the right headspace and encourages a physicality I think suits Shay. Additionally, I have had a TON of fun going down memory lane to when I was little. Drawing from that part of myself, both physically and emotionally, has been very rewarding.
I wanted to think outside of the box, like Ally when building some of the larger props! I took items that we normally use for different purposes and turned them into something completely different! I walked around the city and pulled inspiration from things I was seeing all around.
Students I have taught or worked with, as well as my own favorite teachers.
There is a song in the musical Finding Neverland named “Play” which is what I use for inspiration on any show that I work on.
I was inspired by the courage it takes to be yourself, and the importance of friendship.
Fish in a Tree
Adapted by Barbara Zinn Krieger from the best-selling novel by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, this new play with music for young audiences, directed by Sammy Lopez and Melissa Jessel, uses live video technology, dance, and music to explore Ally’s journey with dyslexia.
Fish in a Tree celebrates neurodiversity, friendship, and the power of imagination, and explores the harm bullying causes and the life changing potential of a generous teacher.