KELLY THE DESTROYER VERSUS THE SPRINGFIELD COBRAS is a new rock musical written especially for young actors. A transfer student to Cotesville Magnet High school, Kelly has to find her way at a high school where the test stakes are high and getting higher by the day, the students and teachers are stressed to the max, and Miss Hannah O., an educational consultant has come in to provide the Springfield System, which produces excellence. Too much excellence. As things get weirder and weirder and more and more students fall under the sway of the Miss Hannah, Kelly and her friends are forced to discover the alarming truth about the Springfield System, before it’s too late.
What is the show about?
Coming together to stand up for yourself in the face of crushing bureaucracy.
It’s about knowing that achievement on arbitrary tests is not the value of a person.
Our humanity comes with flaws and embracing our humanness means embracing our individuality and our failures.
Failure is not the worst thing — it’s part of life. It’s about rejecting “success” on someone else’s terms. Sometimes success comes at too high a price, when you’re sacrificing your humanity for it. The ends don’t justify the means.
Kelly is called “The Destroyer” partly as a play on “Kali the Destroyer” — Kelly (as we will learn in the show) is the destroyer of bull—-. She tears down what is false so that what is true can flourish. It’s destroying the premise that traditional “achievement” is the only metric of success.
At the same time, the show values knowledge, curiosity about the world, friendship and empathy. Getting into a good college is not the be-all end-all. It’s not the only thing in life. It’s a means to an end but not the end itself.
What is the style and tone of the show?
The title gives a clue to the style — like SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD. It tells us that the show is heightened, with a graphic novel / manga sensibility — and that there is a sense of comedy and fun. It has echoes of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER as well … a strong heroine in a story with outsize villains.
Musically, we have been getting inspiration by listening to music of varied styles, such as: 70s glam rock like Queen, Electric Light Orchestra, and Yes. Modern K-Pop and J-Pop. Modern indie rock groups such as Jukebox the Ghost, Muse, Bryan Scary, etc.
Bookwise, the tone is heightened, comic and theatrical — smart and quippy like a stage version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not as cartoonish as, say, Little Shop of Horrors.
What does the show look like?
Our overall goal for the show is something which can be done with minimalistic suggested sets & props (so that schools of all types can produce the show.)
We’ve been thinking of “shadows” — the overall set is a representation of a stylized, intimidating shadowy school. Tall things with lights behind them … the scariness of shadows, with glowing things in the darkness.
The school is like a maze — perhaps there are banks of lockers that can be rearranged. They are lost in a labyrinth.
It could be influenced by manga etc — nothing is exactly square. Stylized, exaggerated. Graphic novel-y versus cartoon-y. A little more grit and depth.
We envision a two-dimensional quality — things on flats, on drops, etc. It is a musical version of a graphic novel. That’s the level of dramatic reality we’re thinking about — stylized but with truth and angst underneath.