Thoughts from the Princess Mononoke R and D team on the 2014 Princess Mononoke Research and Development work
For this week's blog we asked if the cast, crew and musicians would kindly volunteer for their thoughts and feedback on the Princess Mononoke Research and Development process.
"As we've all worked together before on the first run of Mononoke, it means we all know each other very well. How we move, how we think, what our strengths and weaknesses are. This goes for Alex, our director, as well, and it meant that the R&D was incredibly productive. There wasn't a single moment that felt wasted and the joy and pleasure of working within a well-oiled team was fantastic. It felt like a family reunion."
Toki, Moro 'Hind' and Video Editor for Whole Hog Theatre
"I had no idea how much of a homecoming it would feel to be getting back to Princess Mononoke. The whole atmosphere of those two weeks were filled with support from each and every cast and crew member and the passion we feel towards this unique project. It was the amazing attitude everyone had which sparked off so many creative ideas and new approaches. So much work has been done in the past few months behind closed doors and we as cast were then allowed to pick up those new ideas and newly built puppets and play with them. I am amazed how much we have managed to create during those two weeks and there is a deep insatiable hunger for it to go on."
"As a musician, I have always been behind a stand or foliage, only being able to take sneak peeks at the stage, but the changes made from this R&D have blown me away. Even the music, which was already so moving, has been edited with subtle nuances in harmonies and counter melodies that really created the epic feel of the film. It still amazes me that only six of us, in our little corner behind the audience, were able to create such a full sound and even though there were a lot of fast instrument changes, that's what made it so fun for me. It will always be a fond memory of mine when I struck (quite loudly) the thundersheet as part of the first note of a run through and saw a few spectators in front of me jump with shock! Being back with the Whole Hog team felt like a family reunion and I know that none of us want this journey to end here. I feel so honoured and privileged to have been a part of it up till now, and look forward to seeing where it will progress. My thanks to everyone who has had a part in creating this production, to everyone who has supported it, and of course to Kerrin (Musical Director) for including me in the project."
B flat Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Recorders, Thundersheet
"The two week period dedicated to the R&D for Whole Hog Theatre's production of Princess Mononoke has been amazing and inspiring for me. Not only did I get to work again with great friends and a great theatre company on an equally amazing project, but I have learnt a lot about what it takes to put up a great show on stage. The collective efforts of the individuals responsible for the R&D proves that the production is as good as the work which has been put into it, on the script, artistic directions, puppets, music and everything in between. I could not have been more honoured to have the opportunity to represent this production under Whole Hog Theatre's name and with the kind permission of Studio Ghibli."
"Coming to help with the Princess Mononoke R&D was incredibly exciting. Having been involved with the project from the very start, but then working on other things between the last performance and now, coming into rehearsals was like seeing the whole thing with fresh eyes. The work that has been put in was astounding and all the changes that had been made, both the new puppets and in the staging of the excerpts being shown, breathed new life into the show for me. I felt a bit guilty, as the sound set-up needed for the R&D performances was very simple, meaning I got to sit watching the performers do all the hard work. I also learnt a new skill. Having set up with the musicians, I was quickly pressed into service to play some percussion during the forest soundscape at the beginning which I managed with aplomb, if I do say so myself. No match for their skills however, the way they manage to recreate the score of the film through the arrangements for such a small group of musicians takes my breath away every time I hear it."
At Whole Hog Theatre the most important element to a production is the people involved. Although we dedicate a lot of time creating huge visual pieces, constructing complicated technical elements and spend hours poring over the script and score, it is the cast, crew, musicians and producers who really make the show what it is, and we are forever indebted to them for that. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has put in so much work to make #MononokeRandD happen, whether on stage or behind the scenes, and we look forward to the next part of the journey - wherever that will take us.
The Whole Hog Team
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