“RedRidinghood” by Donna Leishman

Open “RedRidinghood” by Donna Leishman

In “RedRidinghood,” Donna Leishman retells the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Using Flash in a similar way to “Deviant” (previously reviewed here), Leishman offers a modern reading of the traditional tale, which acknowledges its indebtedness to Angela Carter (thanked in the credits as the person who initiated it all). In this interactive narrative, Red Riding Hood sets out on her way to her grandmother’s house. In the woods, she meets a boy-wolf who will eventually seduce her, but also experiences the forest itself before falling asleep and dreaming.

The images are clearly influenced by comics and even cartoons. Leishman, in her article “Dissonance in Multi-Semiotic Landscapes in the Work of Donna Leishman,” acknowledges this when she writes:

In developing my interpretation of Red an eclectic mix of visual and literary referents were used. For example the Borderline era musician Madonna, particularly the hydrogen peroxide hair, and black eyebrows fused with the attitude of Yoshitomo Nara’s malcontent innocents influenced her appearance. Subtler references are Popeye The Sailor’s forearms… (Dissonance in Multi-Semiotic Landscapes in the Work Of Donna Leishman)

This “subtle reference” is almost impossible to ignore and suggests a search for the author’s own style, which has become recognizable in the works that followed “RedRidinghood”.

The narrative can be followed in multiple windows, alluding to the usual multitasking that occurs in windows environments. In order for the story to advance, the user has to click on specific items and explore different scenes. Although the story is mostly linear, there are aspects that can be easily missed. In comparison with “Deviant,” the story feels much more like a singular path, one story line, and the work is relatively shorter. Moreover, “RedRidinghood,” at least in tone, appears a more active and less meditative experience.

“RedRidinghood” plays with the “diary,” which might be considered a topos in Leishman’s narratives, and presents a larger quantity of texts many of which the user has to work hard to find. Within it, we find poems, diary entries and drawings, some of which are cleverly animated.

“RedRidinghood” is worth exploring. It holds many little secrets and gives a fresh perspective to the traditional Little Red Ridding Hood story.

Featured in The Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1.