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Information on Princess Mononoke Stage Play

posted on by Andrew Osmond
Interview with theatre company's director on twitchfilm website.

The website twitchfilm.com has posted an interview with Alexandra Rutter, Artistic and Executive Director at Whole Hog Theatre. The company is currently preparing a stage adaptation of Hayao Miyazaki's epic anime film, Princess Mononoke. At present, it is is only due to be performed at London's New Diorama Theatre from April 2 to April 6, 2013 (sold out). However, this week the company launched a Kickstarter campaign to extend the play's life.

In the interview, Rutter says, "We sometimes get frustrated that great pieces of theatre only go to London venues. If we can, we would love to take Princess Mononoke to the places you wouldn't expect it to go, both in the UK and abroad."

Other details from the twitchfilm.com interview:

- Featuring human and puppet characters, the play will be as faithful to the film as possible, including dark elements. The play's intended audience is adults and older children. Rutter says, "Being a big Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki fan myself, I have no desire to alter the film's narrative and atmosphere, or to add a 'new spin' on the story. I only want to re-tell it in a different form. However, 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."

- The play will emphasise "atmosphere, lighting, physical storytelling and innovative staging." The audience will be very close to the action, "so close at times they could literally reach out and touch it."

- The script will be tailored for the stage, drawing from both the dubbed and subtitled versions of the film.

- The play will not be a musical. It will use original music, because the play's small venue cannot accommodate an orchestra to do justice to Joe Hisaishi's music for the film version. The new music, developed by musical director Freya Bryson, will be "crafted for fewer musicians" and use "innovative soundsaping."

- The play is being made with the support and encouragement of Studio Ghibli, but Ghibli is not involved in funding or creating the production. Whole Hog Theatre did not communicate directly with Hayao Miyazaki, but he gave final permission for the play to go ahead. "We know there are some things about our pitch that he liked, although we don't want to give too much away," says Rutter.

The Kickstarter campaign target to extend the play's run is £5,000 by Thursday, December 20. As of press time, £3,363 has been raised. The Whole Hog Theatre company can also be supported through the easyfundraising site, and anyone interested in supporting the campaign can contact [email protected]

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