Meet Madelyn Dorta, and her journey to recreating a beloved fairytale with a cultural twist.
Fairytales & Flight
There is not a child among us who didn’t love fairytales, it’s what made childhood so magical. We were surrounded by them. You could be anything or anyone you chose to be. But as we get older that freedom seems to disappear almost like magic.
One day you are a carefree child, running around pretending you have wings and can fly, the next day you are forced to live your life for other people and meet their expectations. The freedom to be free and to fly is gone, and reality sets in.
Dorta notes this is an experience that women know all too well… ” being a woman comes with expectations and even roles we are to play within our own families. And as daughters, the weight of those expectations becomes even heavier as we get older.”
Playwright Madelyn Dorta wrote a two-act audio play retelling of a beloved childhood fairytale, Thumbelina. You remember Thumbelina, right?
The story of a fairy, who is as small as a flower, who is kidnapped by a frog who wanted her all to himself. Only to be rescued by a same-sized prince and live happily ever after. Dorta set out to retell Lina’s tale to a world that needs it.
Lina features a first-generation Latina, the eldest daughter of the Flores family, named…you guessed it…Lina. Lina helps her family run their restaurant and house, she is the glue that holds everything together. She is desperate for her freedom but knows she won’t ever have it.
After one very long day, Lina falls fast asleep and wakes up in a strange yet familiar world where her physical size is a reflection of how she feels, small.
Lina has to navigate this strange and dangerous place where she is faced with some painful truths about her real world and her place in it. All told through audio, returning to our societal roots in telling magical tales out loud.
When asked what the playwright hopes her listeners get out of her Thumbelina retelling, she said…
“I wrote Lina for myself, and for every mijita out there whose family or culture keeps her small and caged. I want listeners to know…YOU are the author of your story and if you are waiting for anyone to give you permission to spread your wings…you’re going to die caged.”
Not the traditional messages of love at first sight or royal balls, we are used to hearing about in fairytales, Lina is tackling everyday struggles women face. Feminist Fairytales chose a different route to discuss the societal problems, through audio fairytales.
Feminist Fairytales is an anthology series that features the work of many different and diverse writers. Telling tales of intersectional feminism that celebrate sexuality, inclusivity, gender playfulness, and more.
Dorta is just one of many storytellers that you will hear from in the first season of the podcast. But Dorta’s story is the first to kick off the show, and it does it by giving us all permission to spread our wings and fly.
For most women, it’s just NOT that easy. “It’s so unfortunate that as women, as women of color, the notion that we have our own autonomy is foreign and seen as disrespectful. To say…” no this is my life, I don’t exist for you…I don’t exist for this family, and my needs are important…and I’m the priority” is one of the worst things that you can do in our culture, in a lot of cultures…you know… it is seen as an act of rebellion and maybe it is…but sometimes a rebellion is what we need.”
Although Lina is a fairytale retelling the real world isn’t too far away. Get lost in the world that Dorta created with the release of the first installment of Lina on November 19th, 2021.
Lina was written by Madelyn Dorta for Feminist Fairytales. The podcast is produced by Madeline Regina and Jennie Bissell.
About Madelyn Dorta:
Madelyn Dorta is a producer, storyteller, and playwright. You can see more of Dorta’s work on Instagram and Twitter @madelyn.dorta
About Feminist Fairytales:
Once upon a time, the stories you wish you’d heard as a child came to life… before your very ears. Anything but Grimm, these fantastical intersectional tales celebrate sexuality, inclusivity, and gender playfulness.
Infuse your day with mystery, mirth, and a new view of what’s possible. Feminist Fairytales is an anthology series that features the work of many writers. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @FeministForest.