Adventures come in all shapes and sizes. Pirates, terrifying monsters and air battles are all hugely exciting. But sometimes the biggest adventures are those we go on daily, as we learn to face the challenges of the world around us.
Aidun is a fearless adventurer. She may be only a little girl, but children everywhere love reading The Adventures of Aidun books, featuring brave Aidun and her cowardly companion – the dwarf Razatino. Lately, however, Aidun has had very little to do. Her creator, Mario, is suffering from a debilitating disease. Mario is now confined to a wheelchair, and his struggle to get through day after painful day has destroyed much of his will to draw and write fantastic adventures for his heroine.
Mario began writing The Adventures of Aidun books for his niece Dunia when she was a little girl. Dunia is now an adult, more worried about her uncle’s health than his stories. Mario is due to go into hospital for an operation on his back. He is refusing to do so, however, scared that it might end up making him worse. Dunia desperately wants her uncle to agree to the surgery. But there is nothing she can do to change Mario’s mind. She must simply wait and hope that her uncle will eventually make the right decision. Aidun, however, is tired of waiting for Mario to act. Bored of sitting around doing nothing, she wants Mario to write another adventure for her. And so, with great effort – although nothing is too much for our fearless heroine – Aidun makes her way out of Mario’s illustrations and into the real world.
When Aidun arrives in Mario’s life she is surprised to discover that he can neither see nor hear her. Undeterred, she enlists the help of the play’s Narrator – an enigmatic figure who comments on the action – to attract Mario’s attention. The Narrator suggests Aidun try to talk to Mario in his dreams. And so, that night when Mario falls asleep, Aidun magically appears to him while he has a nightmare. Aidun comforts the old man and helps him dream that he is flying high above rooftops, all his aches and pains forgotten. While he does so, Aidun asks Mario to write a similar adventure for her when he wakes up.
The next day Mario starts to draw a new adventure for Aidun. Dressed as a pilot, she flies her plane fearlessly into danger. Suddenly, however, her adventure is cut short. Mario suffers a spasm of pain and retires to bed. No longer able to rely on Mario to write the end of her latest battle, Aidun decides to finish the adventure on her own. For the first time in her life, however, Aidun loses the fight. Never before has our brave warrior been defeated, and it is an experience that both confuses and exhilarates her. Unable to rely on Mario to write a victorious ending for her, Aidun experienced the thrill that comes with not knowing how a dangerous battle will end.
With Mario still in pain, Aidun goes on many other adventures by herself. Sometimes she wins, sometimes she loses. Each time she learns more and more about what it means to be free to make her own decisions. That night when Mario goes to sleep, Aidun visits him again in his dreams. But Mario’s real-life suffering has invaded his dreams and he refuses to go on an adventure with Aidun. Angrily, Mario accuses his little character of knowing nothing about the real world. Aidun may think she has learned a lot, but she has never experienced the pain of getting old and watching things die. Aidun refuses to believe that real life is always so miserable. And so, to show Aidun just what it feels like to see things destroyed, Mario goes to the bookshelves and rips up every book in The Adventures of Aidun series. Shocked, Aidun falls to the floor, her world in ruins.
When Mario realises just how much his actions have affected Aidun, he rushes to his drawing desk to try to restore her world. Eventually, Aidun is revived, and Mario creates their first ever adventure together. It is a relatively sedate adventure, at the bottom of the sea, where Aidun and Mario care for an underwater zoo. All Mario’s aches are forgotten as he swims, free from pain, across the sea bed.
When Mario wakes up, he is relieved to find that his The Adventures of Aidun books are all still intact. Leafing through one of them, Mario stops at a drawing of Razatino. Suddenly, he sees this rather cowardly character in a new light. Just as Razatino is scared of going on Aidun’s adventures, so too Mario is frightened of going into hospital. But Mario now has a renewed sense of confidence. He decides he will risk surgery after all, much to his niece Dunia’s relief. Mario also wants to write a new series of children’s books starring Razatino. Having identified with Razatino’s fearful nature, Mario now wants to give his little character a chance to become brave and to have his own adventures.
The night before Mario goes into hospital, Aidun visits his dreams for the last time. She asks him not to write any more stories for her. From now on, Aidun wants to visit the dreams of sad people – to encourage them to take risks and to go on their own adventures. Aidun and Mario go on one last adventure together, with Mario taking the form of Razatino in his dream.
In the morning, Mario prepares himself for hospital. The Narrator tells us that no one knows how this new adventure will end.
De aventuras (Adventures) was awarded the 2011 SGAE prize for Theatre for Children and Young Adults. Information about this award is available in Spanish on the SGAE website, as well as on the Periódico Ideal website and the Periódico Granada Hoy website [all accessed January 2012].
Entry written by Gwynneth Dowling. Last updated on 18 January 2012.