Charlotte Bond, producer and director of The Magic Beanstalk, writes about the use of puppetry in the production.
There are two worlds in this story: Jack’s world in present day Cornwall; and the giant’s world over the rainbow. Jack is a puppet and the giant is a scientist.
Puppets are a great example of how theatre magic works. Often the more transparent the mechanism of the theatre magic is, the more satisfying the effect can be. More often than not you can see exactly how a puppet is being operated and when a production is good, the audience is transported by the theatrical magic inherent to the form – the puppet is alive and not alive at the same time.
For The Magic Beanstalk I was fortunate to work with Lyndie Wright, the UK’s foremost puppet maker. Lyndie co-founded The Little Angel Theatre over 50 years ago and continues to make puppets for companies as varied as the RSC and Kneehigh. Lyndie has made all the characters in Jack’s world, including Daisy, a gorgeous Jersey cow and the Magic Man who sells Jack the beans and pulls off a mean salsa. These puppets are all hand carved and in some respects the puppets are like masks as the designs distil and reveal the essence of each character. A hard stare from Jack’s Mum would certainly make me cry. Together this set of puppets creates a tangible world that is both recognisable and timeless.
The Magic Beanstalk from Light Theatre is performed in The Salberg at Salisbury Playhouse on Wednesday 30 March as part of Theatre Fest West. For tickets or more information please contact the Ticket Office on 01722 320333 or visit the Salisbury Playhouse website.