We spent TIME with Spotlites Technical Director Colin, and actors James, Kieron and Zac; here’s what they had to say:
So what makes ‘Sleeping Beauty and the Time Lords’ unique?
CK: It is a play which totally immerses the audience, it is an hour and a bit of fantasy science fiction (Space Opera is the official style) It’s a wonderful way to be a hero and save the day without the exclusion of being plugged into a Playstation oblivious to anyone in the outside world. It is sociable, the audience all have to work together. The story is a fantastic twist on the classic Sleeping Beauty story, intertwining a parody of Dr Who and allowing the audience to be victorious. The play teaches right from wrong without preaching and shows that even the side-kick thief can turn out to be a good guy after all. Without the kids joining in and learning the Sonic Screwdriver techniques Aurora is doomed, so come join in and save her!
What’s the best thing about working in interactive children’s theatre?
JC: It’s very rewarding work. The effect is almost immediate; it’s delightful to see a parent playing with their child and being caught in their sense of wonderment. Inspiring that feeling and knowing that you’ve helped facilitate a family moment is incredibly fulfilling.
Why should someone bring their family to watch ‘Sleeping Beauty and the Time Lords’?
CK: It is a fun show that really gets the kids drawn into the world of the play, the adventure we all go on is ‘real’ for them. They desperately want to go onstage and help, they want to help the heroes defeat the evil characters in the play, they even cheer when the heroes win. It’s a magical experience and parents really enjoy watching their kids get so involved with the show.
What’s your favourite thing that a child has said to you after the show?
KR: I loved it when the robot shot him! Tyler, aged 5.
James, what are you most looking forward to about playing The Doctor?
JC: His inherent sense of mania is always fun to portray. His moral compass is also fascinating; its wonderful to discover which side of ethics he’ll fall down on. He is, in essence, alien. Neither greatly good nor greatly bad, but different. It gives a lot of personality and character avenues to explore.
Kieron, you play more than one character in the play, how do you swop between them?
KR: Swapping character relies on knowing each character’s story inside out. The physical and vocal changes happen only with a lot of practice jumping between one and the other. Costume helps a bit, but that too takes practice when costume changes are less than 10 seconds!
Zac, you’re a newcomer – what’s the best thing about playing Fighter Fairy Guardian F8?
ZM: Learning about wand use and being able to combat using it, for example fighting and using the wand to control Kieron’s character, F-12.
Colin, you create the sci-fi special effects and props – what’s your favourite one?
CK: My favourite prop is the Temporal Chronogram that children from the audience go onstage to build. The design is something the children have drawn earlier in the show and the actors use their diagrams to create the Temporal Chronogram using lots of different electronic bits which are all over the stage which the kids have to find. Obviously I’ve added lots of LEDs and wires to them and made them look more space age.
When films can do so much with CGI how can theatre keep up?
CK: By keeping it simple but real and suggestive – I love CGI in films (I’m a sci-fi nut) as it can fully immerse you into the world of the film, but with theatre I try to use the children’s own imagination to create the scenes in the play. So any special effect must be not only impressive but also able to fit into people’s imagination easily which means less crafted detail but with a strong image. For example the spiral copper pipe that is the gold spinning machine in the show. It is simple but also suggestive and really looks the part when Aurora pricks her finger on it. It also is instantly removable by the actors who ‘scavenge’ it during their criminal pursuits. Everyone in the audience knows it is the spinning wheel, even though it looks nothing like a real one, this means they are concentrating on worrying about Aurora and what the Cyberwitch is about to do. A real Grotowski prop!
What’s your favourite part of ‘Sleeping Beauty and the Time Lords’?
JC: It’s a wonderful story; it’s well-crafted, enjoyable and cathartic. As you’re performing the show, you can see the audiences fall into the story and become enthralled by it. There’s something for everyone: good versus evil; a beautiful princess and dashing prince; scientific concepts and apparatus; revenge; retribution; redemption; it’s funny; charming; endearing; and above all a great family adventure at Spotlites!