Badin Drama Presents
HONK!

A musical of Hans Christian Anderson's classic story 'The Ugly Duckling'
by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.

March 18-21, 2004
Badin High School
Hamilton, OH

Frequently Asked Questions

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What? I thought Badin was doing 'The Sound of Music' this year!

Yeah, so did we! But a professional company is performing at Dayton's Victoria Theatre during March, 2004. Local theatre groups (even high schools!) are not allowed to perform a show if it occurs within 70 miles and 60 days of any professional production! ('Oklahoma' is out for the same reason--Cincinnati's Fifth Third Broadway Series). Oh well, there's always next year!

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I've never heard of 'Honk!'--can you fill me in?

Honk! is a fairly new musical. It's roots go back to the UK (1993), but it has only been available in the United States for three or four years. Read more about the history of Honk!

Basically, Honk! is the story of the Ugly Duckling--but with a modern (and definitely British) twist. There are several new characters, such as

Read a full synopsis of Honk!

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How about a list of characters?

Here they are, in alphabetical order!

Bullfrog: Laidback, self-confident frog
Cat: sly and cunning, hungry
Dot: Greylag's understanding wife
Drake: Ugly's father
Ducklings: Ugly's siblings (Beaky, Fluff, Billy, Downy)
Farmer (Voice Only)
Father Swan
Fish
Froglets
Grace: most distinguished duck on the lake
Greylag: Admiral Goose
Henrietta: neighbor
Ida: Ugly's Mother
Lowbutt: Very Domesticated Hen
Maggie Pie or Jay Bird (depending on actor's sex): TV Presenter
Maureen: Ida's friend
Mother Swan
Old Woman (Voice Only)
Penny: A beautiful Swan
Queenie: Very Domesticated Cat
Snowy, Barnacles,Pinkfoot: Greylag's flock
Turkey: School Headmaster
Ugly: gawky and odd-looking, good swimmer
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How about a list of songs?

I thought you'd never ask!


That about covers it!
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Where can I find some more information about 'Honk!'?

For examples of different productions, check out our Honk Links page.
For general notes by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, read on...

Honk! Author's Notes

Doubling: Honk! was written as an ensemble piece for a cast comprising 4 men, 4 women and 4 children who play, between them, some 30 different roles. In previous professional productions, where cast size is a major financial consideration, the doubling of roles has been as follows:

Men
1-UGLY
2-CAT
3-DRAKE, GREYLAG and FARMER (voice only)
4-TURKEY, BARNACLES, BULLFROG and FATHER SWAN

Women
1-IDA
2-GRACE, DOT, LOWBUTT and BEWICK
3-MAUREEN, SNOWY, QUEENIE, OLD WOMAN (voice only) and MOTHER SWAN
4-HENRIETTA, PINKFOOT, PENNY, MAGGIE PIE (see note below*)

Children
DUCKLINGS and FROGLETS

In addition the whole adult company play FISH and FROGLETS. Two members of the stage crew play the roles of FLOOR MANAGER and CAMERAMAN.

*MAGGIE PIE-If you have a spare man available in the cast, he can play JAY BIRD (as indicated in the script). In the 4 men, 4 women, 4 children version of the show the role of JAY BIRD should be played by the female who plays HENRIETTA/PINKFOOT/PENNY, and the character should be called MAGGIE PIE.

Although you may want to assign each of the smaller supporting parts to a different actor, we think a lot of the fun of Honk! comes from seeing the same people plaing a variety of comic characters-some of whom, thanks to Velcro, have to perform amazingly fast costume changes! The show could, however, also be performed by a much larger company.

Costumes: Where possible we tried to think of the human counterpart of each character and used that as a basis for both the costume design and for the way in which the part was played. So as to give the show more relevance and resonance we think of the characters as people who happen to have "duck like" qualities, so never envisaged feathery body suits, masks and beaks. A quick browse through an ornithological tome may inform the costume designer as to suitable color schemes for each character, and it's amazing how a judiciously placed baseball cap can give the impression of being a duck's beak, or a set of red hair-rollers bear an uncanny resemblance to a chicken's comb. Likewise a pair of orange Doc Marten boots or platform trainers can look very much like webbed feet! The Bullfrog may not look unlike a plumber in green overalls; the Ducklings are very trendy schoolchildren with baseball caps, Walkman personal stereos, etc., while Ugly is like the class nerd in gray shorts, blazer and sandals.

The Transformation: The transformation from Duckling to Swan is a challenge/nightmare for the designer but has previously been very successfully achieved in two different ways, both of which involved the actor playing Ugly leaving the stage unbeknownst to the audience:
1. During the blizzard, coupled with a "snow fall" lighting effect, a huge sheet of white silk is spread across the stage by the company, covering Ugly and the Cat. The Duckling leaves the stage beneath the silk and changes into his Swan costume, returning before the "snow" melts.
2. Having rescued Ugly from the Farmer's net, the Cat and the Duckling leave the stage momentarily and an acting ASM look-alike returns with the Cat during the blizzard while the true Duckling changes his costume offstage. in the subdued lighting state and again with a "snowfall" effect the false Duckling is choreographically replaced by the transformed Duckling who is enrobed in a cloak of "snow" ready for the big reveal.

Either way the transformation and moment of revelation should be as magical and surprising as possible-if there is a dry eye in the house you have failed!

Duck-Speak: You will notice in some songs, notably A Poultry Tale and Look at Him, that a few words are included which you may not find in the dictionary and which would certainly not be allowed in Scrabble-words such as "Bogadocader", "Wah", "Buhr", and "Bgadehr". These are simply our attempts to recreate, phonetically, the sounds that we believe the poultry would be making at that point in the story.

Characters: We've found that Honk! works best when the characters are played with real conviction and truth rather than as cartoons. If the audience can believe in, identify with, and care for the characters than you will hopefully have an evening that is both comedic and moving.

Our best wishes for a successful productionHome
George Stiles and Anthony Drewe

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Badin Drama
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Last update: Wednesday, December 31, 2003
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