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A darkly whimsical twist on traditional fairytales, THE WHISPER explores depression, grief, and the role of confronting pain in the process of healing. This piece aims to address the challenges of depression, especially when experienced in isolation, but to also celebrate the strength and creativity that can come from a mind forced to make its own outlet. The fantastical world of our story is all built from the imagination of our protagonist, Melanie, who, in her darkest moment, also creates the most beauty.


A forest of twisted trees, branches gracefully extended like limbs of ballet dancers, trunks stained with ash. Blood-red sap pools at the roots, draining into an increasingly discolored lake. Echoes of whispers sit on the air, and the breeze tastes of smoke. In a distant cave, a legion of bats bicker over the referee’s latest call in their bi-weekly lacrosse match.


Such is the fantastical world of the Waltzing Woods, a once-idyllic realm now terrorized by a malevolent cloud of smoke known as “The Whisper.” This is the world Melanie finds herself in when, at her darkest moment, she is unexpectedly whisked down her bathroom drain.


Before she can find her bearings, Melanie is approached by Lainie, a wooden puppet who was recently orphaned when The Whisper attacked her maker. Lainie is out for revenge, and she needs help finding a secret weapon to defeat The Whisper. Melanie would just as soon go home, but she is unable to find a path back to her world.  As Melanie gets roped into Lainie’s quest, she starts to piece together the painful story of The Whisper’s creation, uncovering a world trapped in a cycle of trauma that feels all too familiar.


Concept Art

(All concept art designed by Matthew Hill.)

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Development History

Originally developed at NYU's Graduate Music Theatre Writing Program.

No further development history.


Listen to the interview with Follow Spot all about THE WHISPER.