The reviews are in and CLOC have a stellar production on their hands with their 2018 production of Jekyll and Hyde (read more; https://www.theatrepeople.com.au/jekyll-and-hyde/ ). From being cast in their first production of it in 2005, to now directing the 2018 production, Shaun Kingma has watched changes in theatre over 13 years in style, technique and technology and has embraced it all to create this mammoth undertaking of a show. We spoke about how the show is similar and different to the 2005 production, the reaction of the cast and crew to reviews and audience reactions, and his favourite parts of the show.
“The show has not been seen for some time on a large stage, plus a few professional productions have unfortunately never saw the light of day. So it seemed like a great time to get the show back into the public eye” said Kingma.
“It is definitely a massive undertaking…. From day one we knew the show would require a large amount of involvement from all departments – cast, costume, sound, wigs, set, crew, and the list goes on.
The show isn’t quite a revival of their 2005 production.
“I suppose it is a revival of sorts for CLOC, but one that has been completely re-staged, re-imagined and re-designed. A lot has changed in theatre in the past 13 years, including techniques, styles and technology. Audience appetite and knowledge have changed. This allowed us to start from scratch. Start with the script, and build up the world we wanted to create from that”, he said.
“The main similarity is the centre set piece. Designed by Brenton Staples, the piece is ingenious in its design and implementation. However, with new lighting techniques the look is very different from the 2005 version. Modern scenic components have been added around this central piece, allowing a striking contrast between the two styles. Along with pan masking (removing traditional theatre legs) this has given us a large black box into which to place our world”.
He was cast in the 2005 production (of which he is very proud) but he was determined this would not be a re-hash of the original CLOC production.
“It will look and feel like an entirely new work. The style, tempo and mood of the piece are quite different. Crew are fully integrated into the piece and similarly cast are fully integrated into the technical elements (cast even operate some of the lighting). The lighting is also quite different (not only for this production). We have used only white (and its various shades) in the lighting rig. The look is very different and gives a sense of mood I wanted. Only occasionally is either a simple red or blue used”, he said on the technical elements of the show.
“The team consisting of Tyson Legg (Musical Director), Tamara Finch (Choreographer), Sallyanne Mitchell (Assistant Director) and I started work over 12 months ago. Many late nights, lots of coffee and red wine. The design, major staging concepts, scene by scene breakdowns and looks, lighting concepts (of which there are many!) costume designs and casting requirements, were all completed well before auditions commenced”.
The show has now opened, and with rave reviews, the creative team a breathing a sigh of relief.
“Creating a show takes all your heart, mind and soul. When you give that over to an audience, it is very nerve-wracking. Will they see the intent, will they react in the way you hope and most importantly, will they enjoy it. It is an unashamedly moody, dark piece. We were very proud of what we had achieved before we opened, but were unsure how it would be perceived”, he said.
“We have all been completely blown away and humbled by the reaction we have received”.
The rehearsal process was exciting, exhausting, and both easy and difficult, but the process for moving into the theatre was quite smooth.
“We are blessed with 21 very talented individuals. They work hard, interpret text and embraced the concepts and staging immediately. Not only that, they have to be one of the finest vocal ensembles I have had the pleasure to work with”, he said about his cast.
“We had rehearsed with the crew on the set for many weeks prior to hitting the theatre. And before cast came on board, the crew also held their own rehearsals. This was integral to the production. The show has over 60 scene changes and states. It has been staged in a filmic sense, so that each moment fades, wipes and crosses to the next. It is constantly on the move. The cast, crew and our excellent stage manager Sandra Davies, have ensured the piece flows seamlessly”.
Kingma has too many favourite moments in the show, and to find out more about these moments, you’re just going to have to go check out the show.
“I have many favourite moments which range from the very small subtle moments: Lucy and Emma appearing on stage together looking at fireworks, Stride appearing on the lyric “There’s a beast at the door”, Emma’s slight reaction when Lucy speaks to Jekyll (even though they are in separate locations), the couple dancing in the background during the Act 1 duet, the mirroring of movements in Dangerous Games, then onto some bigger moments: Jekyll never touching the floor during “This is The Moment” as he rotates and spins with the set as it changes to his lab, the attack the cast have during Façade and Murder Murder, the blackout…”
Read our 4.5 star review of this marvellous piece of theatre: https://www.theatrepeople.com.au/jekyll-and-hyde/
The season runs through to Saturday October 27th, with tickets available from https://cloc.org.au/