Musical theatre workshops and productions

The Heroine’s Journey

As many of you know, CPA Theatricals creates and produces shows featuring strong female roles.  Recently, I was working with one of my story consultants and she told me about “The Heroine’s Journey.”  I always thought I was creating a female version of The Hero’s Journey (Joseph Campbell), but it turns out my stories are actually something different.  I write stories enacting The Heroine’s Journey.   So, I read this great book by Gail Carriger titled “The Heroine’s Journey: for writers, readers and fans of pop culture.”

Here are some things I learned about the differences between the Hero’s Journey and the Heroine’s Journey:

  • Unlike a classic hero, a heroine takes a companion along. In THE LAND OF FORGOTTEN TOYS Grace has Nikki share in her adventure.  Together they save Christmas.  Grace and Nikki complement each other and use each other’s strengths to move the plot along.
  • A Heroine is thrust into action, whereas the hero is usually viewed as reaching out for action. For the heroine, it is not a choice!  Again, in THE LAND OF FORGOTTEN TOYS – Grace is summoned by the Queen of the Northern Sky.  She does not choose the journey.  Similarly, when Grace, Nikki and Schmedrick meet the Icicle Giant – they are ambushed!
  • A Heroine exists in a web of family and relationships. Their family and friends help guide their decisions. This pattern could not be more different from the stereotypical hero – the loner out on his own!  In our show 57th NATIONAL MATHLETE SUM-IT Melissa finally overcomes her stage fright only after her teammates surround her and remind her of her brilliance.  They also work together to solve the final math problem that has been vexing Melissa for months.
  • The Heroine’s journey has an ending that is not all or nothing. Quite the contrary, the resolution  is about compromise, about doing what is possible to make  the community better. MILEY CHASE THE SCIENCE ACE is a great example of this.  Miley and Tyler end the show as friends.  Tyler gets the science price and Miley gets her special surprise.  Both end up happy and changed.

Another thing I learned is that a male can take the Heroine’s Journey as well.  It is not about the sex of the hero, it is about their journey, their choices, their companions and their perception.  Think Harry Potter – a great example of a male leading The Heroine’s Journey.

Imagine what we can create next!

Larry Little

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