Compassion and Loyalty
For the director of this show, Bernadette Pryde, the main theme of this story is "what would you do for those that you love". The hardships undertaken by Elise are many as she strives to save her brothers from the witch's curse, yet all her hard work does not necessarily allow the play to have a happy ending. Sometimes with great compassion and loyalty comes great difficulty and frustration; these are the "light" and "dark" sides of Elise's story which faithfully reflect – using many metaphors and symbols – the dilemmas of real life.
Daughter / Sister
The Brothers Grimm, who initially wrote the story of the Six Swans (the story upon which The Wild Swans is probably based) were from a family of several brothers, and one sister who was the last and youngest child. It is said that she was a most prized girl whose brothers adored her. This theme of the "prized child" is a recurring theme in many children's stories which often sees the favourite put through a multitude of life-tests to prove their "special" status. In many cultures and in throughout history, daughters have often less rights to property of other family heirlooms than their brothers, and so they must be taken care of by their brothers and fathers. On many occasions, this can create a close bond between siblings and the daughter may take on the status of the most favourite because she is different to her brothers because of her "feminine qualities"; she may also, of course, take on many "tomboy" traits of her brothers which may serve to endear her even more to her brothers and father. This is the cause of much tension and is the key to the storyline of this play.
In the Grimm tales and those of Hans Christian Andersen, the forest or wood is often a place where supernatural events take place; where animals and trees can come to life and speak to the person on their journey through the forest. The forest also symbolizes a female, especially as a place that can hide from the light of the sun, and where magic and loss of logic may reign!