Interview with Rachel Warr, director of Beegu
| Mon 1 Dec 2014
Ahead of Beegu opening this week, we spoke to director Rachel Warr about bringing the adorable alien to life on stage:
What made you choose to adapt Alexis Deacon’s book Beegu for the stage?
I bought a copy of the book several years ago. I have a collection of children’s picture books, in books of this type I am interested in how the text is placed in connection to the image, and the effect of a page turn within the pace and flow of the narrative. I’m interested in illustration. I bought a copy of Beegu for these reasons. The colour palate and grainy illustrations are a joy and the character of Beegu is very vivid in her expression and emotions. The book is aimed at children, but its themes are universal and relevant to all ages. So when considering ideas for a new theatre production it seemed a good choice.
How long has it taken to bring Beegu from the page to the stage?
Discussion with artsdepot began a year and a half ago. There’s been lots of administrative work to make it possible since then and preparation on design and music, building up to four weeks of rehearsal to stage the production.
How would you describe the director’s role?
A director’s role is varied and the balance can shift depending on the project. In a nutshell I think it is about having an artistic vision for the piece and then guiding a creative team in collaboration to make the idea grow into something.
Is there anything that has surprised you about the journey of bringing Beegu to the stage?
It’s been like putting together a complex jigsaw piece. During rehearsals movement has been choreographed, music has been composed and recorded, puppets, set, props and costume designed and made, all these things are interdependent and it’s hard to develop one without the other being in place. We haven’t been able to carry out these jobs all in the same location, so we’ve had to employ a lot of imagination and trust in each other as things have developed apart, before bringing all the elements together.
What can we expect from this production of Beegu?
I hope we have captured the heart of the book and that there are a few theatrical surprises too.
See Beegu at artsdepot from Wed 3 - Sat 13 Dec.
Rachel Warr is a theatre director and puppeteer whose work has been presented at a range of UK theatres and international festivals. She is the Artistic Director of Dotted Line Theatre, a company which creates original work with a playful quality drawing on a variety of theatrical disciplines, in particular puppetry.
Image by Tom Crame