Thursday, 20 November 2014

Arabian Nights - Inspiring Cardiff this Christmas

I have heard bloggers talk about the 'money can't buy opportunities', and today I got to realise mine.
Invited into the rehearsal room at Sherman Cymru to witness one of the two Christmas productions being realised.

'Arabian Nights' will be Rachel O'Riordan's second production in our Capital, and in the same vein as 'Romeo & Juliet' this feels special, it feels like a unique stamp is being brought to the stage, designed only with a view to engaging and capturing the imagination of all who sit in the theatre.

And not only did I get to witness some fantastically talented actor-musicians take hold of the space, I also got the opportunity to talk to Rachel afterward about this Christmas production, and Rachel's vision for theatre and Sherman Cymru.

When speaking to Rachel about the blank piece of paper- where to start in choosing a production to bring to the stage for the Christmas season, the mystery and majesty of Arabian Nights becomes evident as the perfect choice, and what becomes clear is that this is not just about bringing Dominic Coke's adaptation to the Sherman, this is about producing with a Cardiff audience in mind. The dynamism of the City, celebrating the diversity. And so an extra layer is added to Arabian Nights. A music score has been added, and so the performance is transformed with actors taking hold of the stage through more than words- and seamlessly interweaving music as the storytelling of One Thousand and One Nights unfold.
Photographer: Kirsten McTernan
And so it becomes evident how much the need to create a bond with the audience at the heart of what Rachel is seeking in the productions which are brought to the Sherman.
The stage is on a 'rake', sloping toward the audience to ensure everyone can see all that is happening on the stage, making the most of the space and ensuring the audience gets to witness all aspects of the story.
The incorporation of music means not only are the audience engaged through the character portrayal and storytelling, but also the atmosphere through a variety of wind, string and percussion instruments.

Photographer: Kirsten McTernan
And whilst it felt in the rehearsal space that there is a great drama in the production, there are also hints of humour which I was allowed to catch a glimpse of, and with a fantastic cast, including Anita Reynolds (The Nurse in 'Romeo & Juliet) and Kieron Self, I now have a little excited anticipation in seeing how their multiple roles will be performed given the moments of humour which was balanced in the drama today.

And then to receive the following photo, means I have definitely seen only a snapshot of what 'Arabian Nights' will offer to audiences visiting the Sherman this Christmas!
Photographer: Kirsten McTernan
Arabian Nights will be at the Sherman Theatre from 5 December 2014- 3 January 2015. Ideal for ages 7+ and families. Tickets are available from £12-£25, with half price tickets for childrens and under 25s. Concessions are available.
Please visit ShermanCymru or contact the Ticket Office on 029 2064 6900.

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