This brief Radio Play is adapted from Hans Christian Andersen’s story In the Duckyard. We are so used to thinking of Hans Andersen as a sweet-tempered children’s storyteller (a point of view perpetrated by Victorian adaptations and sentimental movies), we forget that he wrote many of his stories primarily for Danish adults, and that his folk and fairy tales have a darker side and involve moral and ethical issues. Indeed, the primary focus of any folk or fairy tale is to make us aware of how inappropriate behaviour has consequences we may not wish to deal with and therefore should avoid. Andersen’s stories are rife with satire and sometimes his dark humour is not for bedtime reading. As an excellent example, one of my favourite episodes in The Ugly Duckling is always omitted from translations into English, I suspect because of its bleak humour. The Duckling finds himself in the home of the Old Woman, the Hen and the Cat. The Hen tells the Duckling that she lays eggs, the Cat gives off sparks and purrs, and the Old Woman knits, all apparently useful things to do. She then asks the Duckling what he can do and the Duckling humbly replies that he can swim. The Hen then tells the duckling that, “the Cat tried that once when he was a kitten and the hardest part was getting out of the bag!” In this Duckyard story, using poultry to illustrate how easily bigotry, racism, hypocrisy, stupidity, and apathy can escalate into violence and destroy an innocent (and gifted) creature, Andersen makes us aware of the darker side of our humanity. As with the Cat in The Ugly Duckling, we have constantly to strive to get out of the bag of cruelty and seek the fresh air of kindness and compassion for all our fellow creatures on this diverse planet. After all, this Earth is our ‘duckyard’ and it is up to each of us to make it a better place.
How about a story, a joke, a quip, a witty remark? H.D. Greaves, who lives in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, where he was born and raised, can give you all of those, as he does his good friends all the time. Indeed, he is well known for his outrageous sense of humour. Although he has travelled extensively, his island home has always held a special place in his heart. Now in his seventies, he continues to write new novels and short stories, as well as regaling his friends with his whimsical comments. He sings too! (To which his friends, with rolling eyes, say, "Oh, God, help us!")
MANDRAGORA - A Ribald and Irreverent Tale from the Italian Renaissance, has, since its publication as an ebook on Smashwords, has gained thus far five excellent reviews (on Amazon/Kindle), as well as a fine critique on The Podler Review of Books. An outrageous satirical comedy, it continues to delight readers with its wit, sexual situations, and sleazy characters.
OF BLISS AND GRANTED WISHES - A True Story Told as a Novel, is about aging and an ageless love, and yes, it's all true.
THE NARRATIVE VOICE - Nine Intriguing Stories and a Novella: The Witch of Tabaquite, is proof that with perseverance (and not a little luck), it is never too late to create and to succeed.
His short story, CLEOPATRUS EXCAPTIVUS, was included in the Vernal 2012 edition of Camera Obscura, a prestigious journal of short fiction, and is available in THE NARRATIVE VOICE collection of stories.
Also available on Smashwords are some of his plays:
ATASCADERO! and INCIDENT IN A DUCKYARD are unusual adaptations of stories by Hans Christian Andersen.
Other plays are GNATWING! - A Farce for Clowns, THE FIREBIRD, DISAGREEMENT IN EDEN, and the ever popular RUMPLESTILZKIN.
DRAMATIS PERSONAE - Poems of Comedy and Tragedy, a book with a wide variety of poems, is also available on Smashwords.
H.D. is currently working on another novel: CLIZIA – A Tale of Scandalous Surprises, based on an Italian Renaissance comedy by Niccolò Machiavelli.read more