Thursday, August 23, 2012

through the wardrobe

Earlier this year I spent a couple of months with a crack team of artists and makers creating a new stage version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, held in a purpose-built tent theatre in London's Kensington Gardens. Led by the illustrious Max Humphries, we were tasked with building puppets for the production.

We had a very short time in which to create a small army of giants, centaurs, minotaurs, woodland creatures, dryads, beavers and lions.

Here are some of the dryad (tree spirit) masks in progress:

...and the dryads in action on stage:

These are the Beavers' gloves before the fur has been applied:

Don't they look a bit like pangolins?

Mr. and Mrs. Beaver (Paul Barnhill and Sophie Louise Dann) on stage wearing their furry beaver gloves:

Aslan the lion was our most important and most difficult creation. Several versions of Aslan were built before we constructed the final puppet. A few early attempts may may be seen here, along with early puppet versions of the beavers and yours truly in giant beaver feet:

The final version of Aslan was built in less that five days, literally with blood, sweat, tears and very, very little sleep. Here are views of our final Aslan under construction in the workshop:

This is what Easter looked like in Narnia:

...and why exhaustion and butane heat tools should not mix:

This video shows Aslan, operated beautifully by Jane Leaney, Christian From and Will Lucas, in action:

Finally, two views of the threesixty° Theatre tents in Kensington Gardens.

The show, designed by Tom Scutt and directed by Rupert Goold, ends its run on September 9th, so if you haven't seen it you still have a little bit of time to get tickets!

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