"RedRidinghood," a Flash-based work by Donna Leishman, begins with a familiar line: "Once upon a not so far away." This opening suggests that this version of "Little Red" will follow the formula of the well-known story and carry its usual message: "beware of strangers." Yet Leishman takes the traditional fairy-tale of "Little Red Riding Hood" and turns it into a story for adults that blurs the line between an adolescent girl’s conscious and unconscious fantasies, with a specific focus on the consequences of sex.
This is a work that needs to be experienced several times before the whole story can be discovered. The work will not progress without the active participation of the reader, who must be willing to click on the obvious and not so obvious words and images on the screen. Along these lines, in order to keep the piece moving, the reader must continually interact with the story. The only constant in the work is the audio, an alternative jazz beat, which provides a contemporary feel and whose tempo encourages movement through the ever-changing scenes. The major choice with which the reader is confronted is to either let Red sleep and dream, or to wake her to continue on her journey. If the reader chooses to let her sleep, a new window pops up that allows the reader to delve into Red’s unconscious.
By watching the intimate details of Red’s dreams, the reader helps uncover images of windows, embryos, angels, and boyfriends, which foreshadow her waking reality when she arrives at the end of the path at her grandmother’s house.