Whole Hog Theatre presents Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke!

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103390Hello all,

I have some super exciting news to tell and a favour to ask!

So as some people will remember, I vaguely mentioned having been to a number of auditions last month for various projects. Well, as luck would have it, I’ve managed to become involved in one of these projects, and what’s more; it’s the most exciting project I could have hoped for!

Whole Hog theatre is a small, young theatre group based in Lemington Spa, near Coventry. The company specializes in adaptation and have previously made versions of Dangerous Liaisons and Five kinds of Silence (for which they won the Festgoer’s Choice Award for Best Production at the National Student Drama Festival in 2010).

This is what the company say about themselves; “Frustrated by the proliferation of ‘safe’ theatre, and the lack of opportunity for young artists to gain the experience in theatre necessary to enter the industry, they decided to go the whole hog and address these issues head on – hence their name.’ The company strive to achieve the highest standard in what they do, and thus far, it looks as though they are doing just that.

The companies next project, and the one I will be joining in with to help develop and perform in, is none other than the extremely ambitious theatrical adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke!images

Now, anyone who has seen this film will know what I mean when I say it’s an ambitious project and a huge undertaking! But I am very confident that these are the right people to take on this project and I’m honoured to be a part of it!

‘Yes, Jack,’ I hear you cry, ‘but how will this tremendous feat of theatrical entertainment be achieved?’ Fear not gentle reader; allow me explain.

First off, people should rest assured that our theatrical version will remain as true to the film as humanly possible. For me personally, Princess Mononoke holds a very special place in my heart, and I know the same is true for the others at Whole Hog Theatre. Therefore, great care will be taken with the characters, plot and message of the film, keeping the feeling and atmosphere of Miyazaki’s masterpiece , which as you know, is so, so important. What Alexandra Rutter (our director, and the artistic and executive director at Whole Hog) has said, is that ‘whilst audiences can expect to see much of the film’s narrative happen onstage, they should also expect the techniques we use to tell the story to be quite different’ and this should be expected seeing as how very different the language used in an animated film is to the language of theatre.

As for practical ideas, the play will implement the use of giant puppets to bring many of the creatures and gods of the world to life. These puppets, in-keeping with the ecological messages in Princess Mononoke, will be made from found and recycled materials.

There will also be many expressive elements to the show, using soundscapes and physical storytelling to invoke the feeling and atmosphere that the film achieves so well.

Another thing well worth mentioning is that an original musical score is being created for the show. Alexandra commented on this saying; ‘I know many fans will be surprised, even shocked at this, but it is actually because we love Joe Hisaishi’s beautiful original score so much that we decided not to attempt to re-create it. Our venue is very small and there is no space for the orchestra necessary to do justice to the score and it would seem a travesty to play it through speakers as opposed to live. So, our wonderful Musical Director, Freya Bryson, has been developing a new score crafted for fewer musicians. It will be very much inspired by the original and make use of innovative soundscaping’.

The script of the show will also be newly written for the show, taking heavy inspiration from both the English dub of the film, as well as the subtitle track. The reason for this is simply a matter of adaptation. It must be said that some of the language, although perfect for the film, does not translate well to the stage. Therefore, new dialogue will be developed to  make sure the entire performance, from form to script works together inside the world of theatre.

It goes without saying that Alexandra can put this all in much finer words than I am able to, so I urge you to read this interview with her; here.

-jigoAlso, to let you know, I have been cast in the role of Jiko, the Monk! How cool is that!? If you’d like to find out more about the casting please check out the Whole Hog website; here.

And one last thing (it’s the favour of course). Whole Hog has been running a kickstarter campaign, of which there is now only ONE AND A HALF HOURS LEFT! Please take a look at it, and if you’d like to donate we’d be very thankful. As it stands Princess Mononoke is running from the 2nd to the 6th of April at the New Diorama Theatre in London. The initial run is now sold out, but with the help of this kickstarter campaign there will be more shows to be announced.

Jack.

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