Sweet (Chocolate) Dreams on Friday

Posted by Kristin Hall on 7/14/2017

Just enjoyed seeing the new version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They have updated some of the characters, added a lot more references to social media, and left some a bit closer to the original.  As someone who has enjoyed the original movie (that's Gene Wilder, not the new one!), and the musical ... but for whom it has never been a real personal favorite, I think I was very open minded about the changes.  I liked some of the new songs, and liked the way they developed some of the characters.  Charlie actually was more spunky, and the emphasis on imagination spoke to my drama-teacher's-heart  


It was the second show of two that relied heavily on projections to create the scenery.  I'd love to discuss the pros and cons, and get the reactions of a bunch of students!  I'll refrain from posting my opinion until after my Theatre Design extension in term two ...


The talk back after the show was really animated and interesting.  There was a lot of discussion about the technical challenges.  There was discussion of the choreography and their favorites - the dance styles varied from ballet (in squirrel costumes), to hip hop, to a spoof of traditional German (or Swiss?) dancing, like the figures on a cuckoo clock.  


But that's not all ... the ensemble also played the Oompa Loompas, with puppets that attached a small puppet body but used the actor's face.  The actors could use their own hands to move the puppet's arms/hands OR the puppet's legs/feet.  Whichever limbs they were not operating they could stick in certain positions (hands on hips, hands behind head, feet on ground).  This was done with magnets, and steel plates on the floor.  The actors had lots of funny stories about mishaps with magnets sticking to the wrong things, or not sticking, sticking to things backstage ... 


We also got to hear about how tthe script evolved during the rehearsals, workshops, and the tryout production (it was performed in London, but quite a few changes were made when it moved to the U.S.)  They used some improvisation, but only in the early stages.  Once the show is in its final rehearsals, and after it opens, it is supposed to stay essentially the same.  Which is a great segue into the Stage Management session I went to this afternoon ... but I'll save that post for tomorrow.