Fairy Tales for Improvisors

Fairy Tales for Improvisers – CANCELED


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Dates: Monday evenings, 6:30-7:45, June 8-July 27
Enrollment cap: 10 students
Prerequisite: Previous completion of another Monkey Business Institute class.
Suggested text: Classic Fairy Tales, 2nd edition, edited by Maria Tatar.


Fairy tales are some of the oldest stories in the world, and they still undergird the tales we tell today. Starting with a foundation of the history and definition of the genre, this class will explore six fundamental tale types that continue to reverberate today.

While we will focus on reading and discussing the texts, you will generate tons of ideas for grounding scenes in classic archetypes and story structures. By the end of class, you will have a base knowledge to pull from in any scene seamlessly and a set of tools that will resonate deeply with audiences.

Tara Ptasnik, the instructor, has been teaching children’s literature for college students for more than fifteen years.

Delivery mode: Class will meet on Monday evenings in Zoom . The online space will open for students to mingle for 15 minutes starting at 6:15. Class will be conducted for 75 minutes from 6:30-7:45

Student responsibilities: For classes 2-7, students will be asked to read 3-4 stories before class, with other suggested stories and scholarly works listed for anyone interested. The last class will feature informal, student-led discussions on a number of topics related to the class. 

Weekly topics:

  1. NO FAIRIES, NO PROBLEM: Class introduction, definition of a fairy tale, background on oral collection, introduction to functions and motifs
  2. ROADS DIVERGE IN A DARK, DARK WOOD: Little Red Riding Hood tale type
  3. CUTIE IN DISGUISE— WITH GLASSES:  Cinderella tale type
  4. SHRÖDINGER’S GIRLFRIEND:  Snow White / Sleeping Beauty tale types 
  5. 90-DAY FIANCÈ: THE SEQUEL!  Bluebeard / Beauty and the Beast tale types
  6. FED UP WITH THESE KIDS: Hansel and Gretel tale types
  7. CON/TRACT WITH THE DEVIL: Trickster tale types
  8. Recap, sharing, and wrap up