Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Outdoor entertainment - Olympian style in the Palace gardens ...


Under a Big Top in Kensington Gardens story telling comes to life ... this is the latest collaborative venture backed by Three Sixty Entertainment group ... the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the Park.

The Big Top c/o CTS Catholic Compass

Where the anticipation of a circus arriving in town, the imaginary magic it brings to children around the ring, then that envelopment of the audience within the progress of the story.


Under canvas there are no walls, little scenery (because where would you put it without blocking the audience’s view) – a dramatic space is created where everyone has equal vision ...

The Lion and the White Witch c/o The Guardian

... there is magic, circus and complex choreography ... ‘tree people’ drop from the ceiling on ropes, snow falls from the roof, mist hangs in the air ...



... this is olympian drama at its best ... where actors have to be physically fit ... they spend hours practising ... skipping, doing press-ups and back-flips ... they have to walk on stilts and bungee jump into the air ...


... their final audition was like an horrific boot camp --- for a play, a daily performance .... not a few rounds of an Olympic event.


c/o The Guardian:  Lucy and Mr Tumnus
The animation and video designer (in charge of the images projected onto the large concave canvas skin that runs all around the inside of the tent) ...


... provides the main innovation of this ‘state-of- the-art 360-degree projection effect’ which promises that ‘the theatre is literally part of the show’.


As you would expect there is a wardrobe, a lion and a witch ... the wardrobe telescopes, up and down, out of the stage ... when smoke billows out from its sides, the actors  look like they are coming out of a rocket ...

Max Humphries with his 'Aslan' design

... the lion, Aslan, has taken on a role of his own ... the puppeteer creates – discards – revises – creates – abandons – part creates – reinvents ... eventually Aslan metamorphosed – the puppeteer has succeeded  ...


... then David Suchet’s (the 'Poirot' actor) takes on the vocal role of Aslan ... he ‘met’ the three puppeteers as they put the lion through its paces to help him prepare to voice the role ...

... Suchet said it is rare for an actor to meet the character that you’ll be portraying in real life ... so having seen this shire-horse size of Panthera Leo ... we’ll be hearing Aslan in full low throttle ...
Kensington Gardens in winter


The White Witch remains true to the tale – enslaving the children, ensuring the canvas is enveloped in the dark gloomy white of perpetual winter ... while the saga unfolds, good comes to the fore and the tale is told.


You wonder what Lewis and Tolkien would have made of the theatrical productions from their stories – bearing in mind they were both Oxford University Old English and mythic scholars of the 1930s ...

Original Hardcover - 1950

Lewis seeing Narnia recreated on stage, and now in a Big Top with projected scenery where Mr Tumnus, the fawn, is tattooed with henna and woad body art ....


... or Tolkien when Maoris were seen doing the haka before battle ... perhaps gold miners doing the Gumboot Dance might have been preferable for Tolkien born in the mining region of South Africa.

Susan's picture of Cardiff Castle from Bute Gardens





Susan Sheid in her blog Prufrock’s Dilemma mentions walking in Bute Park abutting Cardiff Castle on her recent Musical Journey to Wales, when she linked the singing wafting across the air – as coming from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

The link to this production of Narnia .. is that no less than 14 graduates from the Royal Welsh are all actively participating ... including Max Humphries the puppeteer, Tom Scutt the show’s designer, et al ...

So the smell of saturated grass, the trudge through the gloopy mud, the rain-lashed tent, the picnic tables outside, the tent’s soft darkness beckoning ... as Narnia comes to life – all make for a beguiling typical British tented summer show ... where anything is possible ...

Roll up, roll up ... Narnia’s come to town ....

Kensington Palace from the gardens
The Telegraph article, by Sally Williams, from which much of this information was taken – for the full detail please go here.


Susan Scheid’s blog post:  Wales Diary, Art and the Aquabus ... Susan is incredibly knowledgeable about music, art and literature and always entices with her ensemble creations for each blog post – enjoy.

Here’s the YouTube video (2.32) of the puppeteer Max Humphries taking us through the process of making Aslan for this production.

The Show:  Here are more snapshots about the production, together with the charitable arm of the enterprise ... art and as part of the 'Get London Reading' Campaign.

 Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

38 comments:

Lynn said...

Well that sounds perfectly delightful. Will you go and see it?

Susan Scheid said...

This sounds so magical, and you describe all the goings on with such effervescence it's impossible not to be drawn in immediately. Honored, too, at the mention--it was a bit of magic, too, to hear those voices wafting out from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I would really love to see that!

Old Kitty said...

A most brave and audacious dramatisations of this classic! And with Mr Suchet as Aslan - perfect!! Thanks for the info and links! Take care
x

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lynn - having read about it, then written about it - I'd like to sneak up and see it - I'm thinking right now!

@ Sue - glad you've come over and seen what this 360-degree Entertainment is all about - they took Peter Pan over to the States last time in 2009 .. so this may come to the States.

Always amazes me how one thing leads to another - and I couldn't believe the Welsh College connection .. so I had to mention you.

Hope you get lots of visits .. it's such a good blog ..

@ Diane - it is obviously going to be spectacular .. looks like I might have to make that trip up to see it .. and report back.

@ Old Kitty - the descriptions of how they put it all together sounds unbelievable .. just so fascinating to read about the creativity available now ..

Perhaps you'll get to visit - if Charlie lets you?!

Cheers and thanks for your comments Lynn, Susan, Diane and Old Kitty .. really grateful - Hilary

Jo said...

I love the books, I have them all, I loved the movies, I am guessing I would love this too. Do go Hilary so you can tell us more about it.

Inger said...

If you go and see it, you know you must write about it again. Your own impressions. This was very informative and I wonder what those two guys would think if they knew about the movies and theater productions of their work. What an interesting thought.

Suze said...

I can really appreciate the rigor those players must put themselves through to be able to execute such a performance.

I love your descriptions of the set -- almost felt a cool, mist-breeze hybrid curl across my face as I read it!

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,
Lots of info here and those involved in the acting have to really be in hopefully, prime physical condition.
You have given most vivid details, Hilary. Always an education visiting your excellent site.
Delighted you have made mention of the wonderful Susan and her superb site. "Prufrock's Dilemma" is an excellent read with accompanying visuals and music that I'm gaining further appreciation for.
I am involved in an alternative play, 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Malfunction' :)
All the best and what say we get a bit of sunshine?
Gary

Richard said...

Sounds like a fun time for all.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jo - well it sounds like I might have to make the trip up ..

@ Inger - I guess I do know I'll have to write about it again! It's interesting to imagine what their thoughts would be on productions in the 21st C .. apparently Lewis' Estate keeps a close eye on things .. as far as remaining true to the book.

@ Suze - I think many us don't realise how fit actors and performers have to be .. you obviously understand.

I hope I do get to see it now .. to see if I do feel your cool, mist-breeze curl around my seat as I watch ..

@ Gary - Glad you enjoyed the eclectic description of the Show - something you'd definitely enjoy I think.

Isn't Susan's blog great - she manages to weave literature, music and art into an educative journey - hers is one informative place. I shall enjoy reading her posts in the years ahead and listening to her selections ...

... are you now - in that Leeky town where they find Staffordshire hoards .. you have the Alternative Malfunctioning play - perhaps I'd better travel north?

We seem to be sending the weather north .. it was quite nice here yesterday, and today has 'shined dawning bright' ..

@ Richard - thanks for coming by .. should be fun.

Cheers and thanks for the comments - Hilary

sue said...

Ooooooh, that sounds like such fun Hilary. I've just finished re-reading "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" - it was just as good as ever!
I hope Tolkien and Lewis would like what is being done to their stories, they're alive for new generations and still speak to a deeper part of ourselves.
cheers
Sue

juliet said...

it sounds like sheer magic and makes me wish I could be a child again and go into this wonder-world. Thank you Hilary for another fascinating and uplifting post.

Shirley Wells said...

This sounds wonderful. Wouldn't it be great if Lewis and Tolkein could sit in the audience and give us their views?

Aslan looks a fantastic creation and David Suchet is wonderful.

If you go and see this, Hilary, you must tell us what you think.

Talli Roland said...

I always feel so lucky to have the Palace practically in my back garden. I love Kensington Gardens!

Clarissa Draper said...

How wonderful! So much work goes into it. Who knew? I love that Suchet (one of my favourite actors) got to be used as a voice. Thanks for the look into this magical theatre.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

So magical and exciting! Narnia comes to life- wonderful!

Robyn Campbell said...

Go Hilary! That way I can see it through your eyes. Pure magic! Wishing I were there. xoxo

Southpaw said...

It sounds magical. I do hope you go so you can tell us if it lives up it.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Oh, this would be lovely to see!

Reading is such a gift. Storytelling is powerful. If the characters are done correctly, your imagination can provide the rest of the extras. But I'm impressed with the projection technology you describe here.

You're a ways from London though, do you ever get the chance to go up for shows like this?

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

nutschell said...

how cool! I do love Narnia. It would be awesome to see something like that here :)
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Theresa Milstein said...

Oh, that sounds wonderful. I've never heard of it, which isn't surprising since I'm so far away! Isn't that right near Talli?

MTeacress said...

Narnia is my all time favorite story. Seeing this in real life would be a dream. Wow. Hats off to them all. :)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I love the way you put together your posts. You always give me a fresh perspective on an often old subject. Love the photos. Love Suchet. He's certainly got the voice to pull it off.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

This sounds like a marvelous production! It reminds me of Sight and Sound Theater in Strasberg, PA. They do amazing Biblical productions complete with costumes, music, and special effects.

One such show was Noah. At the beginning of Act 2, the audience is sitting inside the Ark. There are both real and animatronic wildlife.

DeniseCovey _L_Aussie said...

It'd be great to see LW&W in the park. I've been to Kensington Palace so I get the idea. I've seen where the film was made in NZ too.

Your last comment to me was found in spam again Hilary!

Denise

A Lady's Life said...

I'm a kid at heart and I would enjoy all of these things. :)

Liara Covert said...

Love how everyone is encouraged to cherish and nurture their own imagination. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis offer us wonderful stories. The setting of this production is very exciting. We are reminded that limits begin and end in the mind.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sue - excellent .. I'm looking forward to seeing it .. I think enlightened people do think forward .. so all would be well in their minds ..

@ Juliet - yes childlike .. I think I'll be transported back and into that wardrobe ..

@ Shirley - I wonder what Tolkein and Lewis would say ..

The creative spirit is very much alive here .. Aslan does look so a fantastical-real creature and with David Suchet's voice .. all should be well ..

@ Talli - you are so lucky you can walk around that part of London ..

@ Clarissa - I think that's why I write about things .. I don't know and I guess others will be interested in the construct of a stage setting - this will be fascinating to see ..

@ Melissa - it must be amazing to be a part of the Show .. and wonderful to see.

@ Robyn - I will let you know all about it ..

@ Holly - I will .. I booked the tickets!

@ Sia - Glad you picked up the bit about Reading and how this theatre group is encouraging disadvantaged children to use their creative skills ...

The staging sounds as though they've covered all bases .. so it will be extremely interesting to see it come to light ..

London isn't that far ... an hour and a half on the train .. so I'm off on a train ride .. I just don't go often.

@ Nutschell - you'd love it .. I can see you just enveloping yourself in this project ..

@ Theresa - well I'm not sure I would have done except I read about it on a train ride .. and then thought ah ah - a post is here.

You're right Talli is very nearby .. one day we'll meet! This is in her back garden.

@ Michelle - I think the magic will be there inside the Big Top .. so your dream is coming for me - lucky me!

@ Joylene - really appreciate your comment .. and that you feel a part of the subjects I'm mentioning .. it should be a fun show.

@ Susan - you're right about special effects being used on stage .. projections of scenery etc - there are so many opportunities now with all the wizardry we have at our disposal ... Your Noah sounds fascinating ... finding animals around you ..

Thanks everyone .. that's really lovely to see you - and as I have now booked tickets ... I will report back! Cheers Hilary

Ana coelho said...

Hi Hilary ,thank you for an interesthing read.

Patricia said...

What a wonderful post and production...I wish I could pop over and see it right away and walk in the gardens and parks.

I wish my trip to UK was ahead and not behind but you have taken me on a lovely tour with your blog this year.

We are thinking about paying for cable to see the Olympics, but do not think we can afford it. Maybe there will be some free internet coverage? I know it is very expensive
Thank you for sharing so much

The Lion, witch and the wardrobe are favorites here

scarlett clay said...

Oh wow, my kids would flip over something like this, what a cool idea to bring literature to life!!

Nick Wilford said...

This would be amazing to see, and like Scarlett says, my kids would be enthralled. It's good to re-imagine an old classic in creative ways.

TALON said...

Oh, I would love to see that - I love the Narnia and this would be like travelling there :)

True summer magic, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ A Lady's Life .. me too - it looks like it will be so much fun.

@ Liara .. I must say commenters appear to 'dream' on this production. Our mind opens new territories ..

@ Ana .. thank you.

@ Patricia .. walking in the countryside is just beautiful .. and am so glad you've enjoyed the blog tour.

Hope you can get the Olympics platform set up .. I'm sure there'll be coverage

The production will be wowing audiences ..

@ Scarlett - it is going to be an amazing experience - I'm going to love watching the kids ..

@ Nick - like you say .. your kids and any kids (or young kid at heart!) are going to be thrilled at this creation ..

@ Talon - exactly .. true summer magic .. and I'm we'll lose ourselves in the story ...

Great to see you all .. cheers Hilary

Liara Covert said...

Hilary, recall Shakespeare who says, "All the world's a stage. And all the men and women merely players..." Everything is a figment of the imagination. I am you and you are me. What genius!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. yes - I still have to write a post about Shakespeare .. all his plays have been done this year in some form or the other - at the moment I think it's London that is a-stage! The creative spirits with enormous imaginations are recreating England at the moment .. with an enormous amount happening in London ..

I wonder what the historians will say about 2012 in the UK in 500 years time ...

Cheers Hilary

MorningAJ said...

That looks like an amazing production - and David Suchet is perfect for Aslan's voice.