The Wolves in the Walls

Based on the book by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
Conceived and made for the stage by Vicky Featherstone, Julian Crouch and Nick Powell

Lucy hears creeping, creaking, crumpling noises coming from behind the wallpaper and is convinced that there are wolves in the walls of her house. Her jam-making mother, tuba-playing father and video game obsessed brother think the noises are really mice, or rats or bats. But they are wrong and she is right as they will all soon find out…


About A Calendar of Tales
(sorry in advance for my english)
My son Joachim (10 years old) was intrigued on my drawings for the contest. I explained to him what the contest was, and who wrote the tales. He knows perfectly who Neil Gaiman is, he saw Coraline and I should be damned if I hadn’t read “The Wolves in the Walls” a thousand times to him when he was a little younger. “The wolves” is one of our absolute favourites books ever (it’s funny because the french version of the book is published by one of MY publishers, Delcourt ^^). When a situation is bad or desperate, we took the habit to say “tout est fini, les loups sont sortis des murs” (if the wolves come out of the walls, it’s all over), like in the book. ^^

So I explained briefly what each tale was about. About May, I even shown him 2 different videos made by other participants (very impressive). I translated the monologue for him. I don’t know why, but the May tale TERRIFIED him at first.
He thought it was impossible and awful that things appear like that in a house. I answered  him: but I told you about the October tale too, the one with the genie. It’s impossible as well, however this one didn’t scare you? Besides, these are only letters and notes, even if they appear, they don’t do any harm. But, he said, it’s SO WEIRD!! It was very hard to make him understand he doesn’t have to be afraid, I think it was because the story has no explanation (which is one of the main interests!), while the genie in the October tale is a FACT. ^^
The next day his father decided to make a joke and put in his bedroom’s wall a paper where it was written “things will be back to normal soon” in french (see photo). Jo was surprised when he go back to his room, but he also have a sense of humor and laughed and laughed.
Since then we found several strange notes in the apartment, (written in french with a child writing) and also 3 books in a box. Yesterday evening I found next to my bed a note in an envelope with an alarming message about the situation of my uncle. I have salad in the fridge, but where can I find a pink flower please? …

I went to a talk yesterday by Neil Gaiman - he made a number of interesting points but the ones that spoke to me most strongly were about his female characters. Responding to two questions from the audience, he made the following points - 1. The secret to writing a good female character is simple - write them as people. 2. His stories Coraline and The Wolves in the Walls are essentially about girls who save themselves/their families from insidious forces. Adaptations of these two books (into a film and a play, respectively) altered them so that the girls were no longer positioned as the sole heroes of their respective narratives - they either had to be supported or saved by others.

I see parallels to Labyrinth in all manner of weird and wonderful places but found Gaiman’s comments particularly relevant to how the property has been treated. The original film is about a girl who makes a bad choice, comes to regret it and goes on to save both herself and the sibling she’s endangered. The manga undermines this by focusing on the far more typical story-line of the geeky teenage boy who discovers he has a significant destiny, TM - Sarah is literally demoted to sub-plot status and becomes horribly victimized.

I’ve made this point before but really felt like it could do with stating again. I find Labyrinth unique and special because of how Sarah is characterized as a hero in her own right - she doesn’t need saving and that’s rather wonderful.