Christmas in July! - by Cecily Redman
Christmas in July... my childhood dreams finally came true! I would have hardly believed in a 3-day rehearsal period we could have achieved so much, but by Jove we did it!
Having spent a couple of days preparing and then recording the music before we got the show on its feet, I was in a particularly Christmassy frame of mind by the time we got to our first staging rehearsal on Monday morning. With the genius of Claire’s direction and vision to guide us, it was clear this show was going to be a special one.
It was very much a collaborative process, the team gave us as the actors/puppeteers great freedom to input ideas and suggestions to bring the characters to life. Chris, our wonderful puppet expert, was also on hand to help us with getting the best out of our right arms! A lot of attention was spent on getting the puppet’s “focus” just right, i.e. making sure they were looking straight to camera. Having worked primarily on stage with puppets in ‘Avenue Q’, this new filmic style was a wonderful challenge and a totally different experience.
We had the use of monitors so we could check in on our furry friends and how they were looking, whilst performing daring feats of contortion to make sure our own bodies stayed out of frame! By Wednesday we had staged around half of the show, and we then had the arrival of the beautiful props to play with, including the singing Christmas pudding (yes, really!). By Friday, we were running the show and finessing moments that would add to the story telling, and I think it’s safe to say we were all itching to get to the studio to film what we had created!