A play with music. Based on the story by Tony Husband and David Wood. Book & lyrics by David Wood. Music by Peter Pontzen and David Wood. Lyrics for Rock ‘n’ Roar by Tony Husband.
Commissioned by Cambridge Theatre Company, who first performed the play at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge in 1990, followed by a short tour. Subsequently toured by Whirligig Theatre, including a season at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London.
A Fable from the Future … It seems that long, long ago human beings ruled the world but made a terrible mess of it. They kept having wars and polluting the earth. They nearly succeeded in killing themselves off completely… Now the animals are in charge.
Young Becky Bear loves her pet human, Norman. When the mysterious Professor Rhino has Norman arrested by the Securiboars, Becky and her friends start a worldwide campaign to ‘SAVE THE HUMAN’ from extinction.
David Wood writes : When Robin Midgely asked me to write a play for the Cambridge Theatre Company, I suddenly thought of the story I had written with Tony Husband, the famous cartoonist.
The story was as yet unpublished (later Hamish Hamilton took it on), but had theatrical potential.
It also tackled the subject of animal rights, one that I knew children were interested in.
By reversing things, so that animals were experimenting on humans, for the sake of animal welfare (rather than the other way round), the subject became more palatable and stageable.
The production was perhaps more experimental than previous Whirligig productions, and I remember it with particular pleasure.
The original production used seven actors and a musician. There was considerable doubling. A larger cast is possible.
“A first rate show for children … colourful, entertaining and thought-provoking.”
“David Wood’s children’s plays offer entertainment with a message, but never one that is hammered home remorselessly. SAVE THE HUMAN features a world that has been ruined by mankind and taken over by animals. The animals make the same mistakes – including experiments on pet humans – and the whole cycle starts all over again. There’s an air of Orwell’s Animal Farm in the way animals are used to satirise human failings. But the questions asked about matters such as vivisection, intolerance and even the price of fame, are cleverly buried in pure entertainment.”
Bristol Evening Post
“Wonderfully astute conception.”
“Although SAVE THE HUMAN does not miss out a thing environmentally, it still avoids the danger of preaching to a young audience. A cartoon-style staging, mime, music, audience participation and a splattering of slapstick all add up to a play that is visually stimulating as well as intelligent. The young audience waved their animal masks and sang, booed and hissed at the evil Professor Rhino, and were completely carried along with Becky Bear’s campaign to SAVE THE HUMAN.”
The play and piano/vocal score are published by Samuel French Ltd., a Concord Theatricals Company. First Class Professional & Foreign Rights : Casarotto Ramsay Ltd. UK Repertory Rights : Samuel French Ltd., a Concord Theatricals Company. UK Amateur Rights : Samuel French Ltd., a Concord Theatricals company. www.concordtheatricals.co.uk. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The play is included in David Wood : Plays Two (Methuen) US Stock and Amateur Rights : Samuel French Inc.