Yunyu’s rebellion against perfect fairytale endings wasn’t quite as severe as a childhood devoted to ripping out Barbie’s bleach blonde hair, or trampling Ken’s Malibu dream house. Far more innocent, Yunyu’s inspiration came from her father, who would improvise the endings of nightly bedtime stories.
From this moment on, nothing was sacred. “I kept ending up in detention because I provided all the wrong endings to fairytales, and the school authorities had no sense of humour about it,” she says. “I guess you can’t blame them.”
In Yunyu’s Twisted Tales, the pied piper is a cult leader building a child army, Goldilocks is a sexually unsatisfied serial dater, and the third little pig has cracked and called in the Godfather to take the big bad wolf for a swim with the fishies. “The recurrent theme with Twisted Tales was to hold a mirror to fiction, to find out how much reality was reflected in it,” she explains “The strange outcome of this exercise was how reality was often a lot more demented than fiction.”
The multi-media-music experience developed more out of necessity, than a defining moment of inspiration. Suffering from what she describes as a 'writer’s flood', Yunyu kept her imagination in check by limiting herself to a single concept.
The result is a transmedia spectacle that drags the age-old art of storytelling down the rabbit hole, along the yellow brick road, through the woods to grandma’s house, and then kicks it unceremoniously to the curb.
Identifying with Scheherazade from One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, Yunyu says she follows in the ancient storyteller's footsteps. “My favourite thing to do is to weave a scene or social story as I see it, then leave the listeners to process the tale for themselves, and take what they may from it.”
Twisted Tales has allowed the stationary characters of old to leap off the page, and with the help of manga artist Queenie Chan, they are running amuck. “All the collaborators are insanely gifted storytellers,” Yunyu says. “The base storyline in Twisted Tales allows for a lot of movement, so each creator is able to flesh out a character’s journey Rashomon style.”
Along with Chan, the singer/songwriter and former Triple J Unearthed winner’s team includes a five-piece band, animators, a video journalist, and designer Imogen Ross. “I hope that audiences get a sense of wonderment at being taken to a universe parallel to our own and never look at fairytales the same way ever again,” she says.