Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons: In Rehearsal

The show is called Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Reimagined. It’s a response to the work that Max Richter did with the original Vivaldi, all told of course with puppetry. We originally were inspired by classical Bunraku puppetry. We thought – Wow, wouldn’t it be amazing to try and do a modern version of this? To tell a kind of modern story but using a similar principle. Bunraku is an equivalent of classical theatre in Japan, so equivalent to Shakespeare. We really liked the idea of creating a show with a piece of music as the initial stimulus. Finding the right piece of music was incredibly important, obviously. When we heard Max’s recomposition of the Four Seasons that really struck gold for us. In order to stage it we’ve had to take the number of musicians down to six, which is really beautiful because the space is so intimate. Max is an astonishing contemporary composer. His music is unashamedly emotional. That was something we could take a story from. We came into the room on the first day of rehearsals… We rolled out a huge piece of paper and we all lay on the floor and just drew our responses to the whole piece of music. Some people went very abstract… Even feelings – colour – certain things cropped up in all of our minds. I think that’s quite magical! And then Finn and Toby going away and synthesising all of those things into one sort of master narrative. It’s a sort of visual poem. There’s areas of it that are kind of up for interpretation and up for the audiences applying their own experiences to it. We met working on War Horse – we were both in the original cast – and then alongside that we started to make our own work. We have a genuine passion for the art form of puppetry. To let people into the human condition through the movements of the human body. We all get emotionally attached to the puppets because we have to utterly feel what they are experiencing. It creeps up on you! [laughs] Kids will definitely enjoy it. Adults will definitely enjoy it. It’s a big story – it has big life events – extreme beauty and humour – life and death and renewal – and people can connect with it on different levels and colour it in with their own emotional understanding. These amazing musicans and fantastic puppeteers are working together in the candlelight of the Wanamaker. It feels like it’s quite a personal piece for everybody as an individual audience member. People will put themselves in the puppet – if you like – and emotionally take part in the story. We’re very excited to see people’s responses to this show.


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