May 26th, 2016
Week one of Watership Down rehearsals has flown by! We’re having so much fun putting this great play together, so I thought I’d update you on how we’re getting on…
Lots of people have been asking me how on earth it’s going to be done… Rabbit onesies? Avenue Q style puppets? Animatronics? (actually, no one suggested that) but I can assure you that this version of Watership Down will probably defy all of your expectations. Our director Adam Penford and Movement Director Naomi Said, are working together to create a language for our rabbits that is both genuine and stylised in order to tell this magical and nostalgic story.
Day one of rehearsals always begins with meeting everyone over tea and coffee and then we all sit in a circle to read through the script. This is usually followed by one of my favourite parts of the rehearsal process, the model box viewing. A toy-size version of what will soon be our life-size playground, equipped with miniature props, staircases, platforms, and backdrops. Richard Kent has designed a fantastic set which represents the stunning countryside of Watership Down. It won’t be long before The Watermill is transformed into a labyrinth of rabbit warrens and patchwork fields… We even had a cast field trip to Watership Down itself so we could take in the view!
Later in the week we sang through composer Dom Coyote’s folky and filmic music, with some of us singing, and some playing instruments. But to answer another one of your FAQ’s, it’s not a musical. There are musical moments in the play but there aren’t any tap-dancing bunnies…yet. We also spent a day playing with some brilliantly designed puppets by Matt Hutchinson which will add yet another creative element of story-telling to this incredibly unique production.
As we move into week two we’ll start to see some of the magic happening…
Until next time!