Co-Directing Pippin with one of my favourite people on the planet has been an absolute whirlwind. With just a week and a half of rehearsals due to exam season, I am so proud of everything we’ve managed to achieve. Pippin is a magical show about a young man’s quest to find his life’s meaning. Filled with tricks, circus, magic and mystery, Pippin learns that there is more to life than finding your purpose. One of Shwartz’s classics, I’ve found that though often veiled by crazy routines and daring tricks, this message is a timelessly important one. Hence why Amy and I decided to set the show in the 1960/70s bohemian era, a time of youth unrest and rebellion, to reflect this timeless message. These character double as ‘players’ in a troupe furthering Pippin’s constant dilemma of being stuck between illusion and reality and add a new truthfulness to the tone of the show. This show more than any other I’ve worked in before really showcases how important our niche as a company is. The troupe led, harmony heavy, multi-rolling of this show pushes every performer to showcase every performance skill they’ve got. This incredible cast have worked tirelessly to make this show the best it can be and I cannot thank them enough. This show is about magic, mystery and wonder and none of our far fetched vision for this would have been realised without the unparalleled dedication and creative genius of our production manager Oscar. Him and the rest of the production team have creatively pushed our vision beyond what we thought could ever be achieved in The Assembly Rooms and have brought the magic of the show to life in a way that transforms the it. So sit back relax and leave us to it, we’ve got magic to do!
By Emily Phillips
Directing this with Emily has been an absolute joy. Not only is she one of my best friend’s, but we complement each other so well, and I could not have done this without her. The cast are absolutely incredible, and the fact we have managed to put this show together in a week, to such a high standard is a testament to their commitment and skill. With such a small cast, everyone is always used and visible, and despite long days, their exuberant energy and talent continuously has shone through. The meta show within a show has been particularly fun to work on; creating backstories for all their players and seeing the physical and vocal work we have done come to fruition has been a joy. Testament has to be given to our amazing company president and production manager Oscar Scott for transforming the Assembly Rooms Theatre as it has never been done before, into a circus. Creating an immersive experience is at the core of this production, and he and his wonderful production team have been working tirelessly to bring Emily and I’s vision to life. The cast have thrown themselves into the Fosse inspired choreography by Hannah Lydon. This is a true splendour to watch and I cannot wait for everyone to be as wowed by it as we were. Doing this production in aid of a safety curtain, which is close to our and the rest of the execs’ hearts has made this production all the more meaningful. We are all lucky in Durham to have the opportunity to be able to do what we love and put on such brilliant theatre. We encourage everyone to donate so that we are able to give the joy of creating and watching theatre to those who are not able to. I couldn’t think of a better show and group of people to round out my DST year with; not only is everyone immensely talented but this has been such a supportive and collaborative environment to work in. We hope you enjoy the show as much as we have enjoyed creating it.
By Amy Shelmerdine
Photo credits: Tone Deaf Theatre Company