One Minute World Arts- ‘The Tiger Seems to Breathe’- Life of Pi in Theatre

How many puppeteers are needed for operating an enormous puppet of a tiger on stage? Puppetry Director Finn Caldwell has 4 to put Richard Parker, the famous Bengal tiger in the story of Life of Pi, in control: one of them is holding the creature’s spine, one is swishing its tail and handling its hind legs, a third is moving the animal’s front paws, and a fourth – Habib Nasib Nader, the tiger’s voice – is keeping the head high and the jaw moving. “One of the things that feels live about the animal is the audience don’t know what it’s going to do – and the actors don’t know either. Because there are at least three people operating the tiger, the choreography is going to be delivered slightly differently every night,” Caldwell says.

Life of Pi received its five star reviews two years ago when presented at The Crucible in Sheffield, and will open at Wyndham’s Theatre, London in November this year. Reflecting upon the core value of this production, director Max Webster says: “When theatre becomes hallucinatorily wonderful, it is because you’ve got a group of people collectively imagining a thing, which creates an act of imagination in the audience.”

你想過在舞台上操縱一隻大型的老虎偶,需要多少位 #操偶師 嗎?偶戲指導菲恩・考德威爾(Finn Caldwell) 在劇場版《少年Pi的奇幻漂流》(Life of Pi) 中,總計請了四位操偶師,來「活化」故事中知名的孟加拉虎理查帕克(Richard Parker):一位控制老虎的脊椎,一位負責尾巴與後腳,一位操作前肢,還有一位則是掌控老虎的頭與下巴,並為牠配音。考德威爾表示:「這隻老虎在舞台上看起來栩栩如生的一大關鍵,是讓觀眾無法預測牠接下來要做的動作,甚至連和牠對戲的演員也可能會感到詫異;因為牠至少需要由三位偶師來協力操控,而他們之間的肢體連動每次都略有差異,所以呈現出來的動作樣貌每場都不盡相同。」

兩年前,《少年Pi的奇幻漂流》在 #雪菲爾(Sheffield) #克魯西布劇院(The Crucible)演出時,便曾獲得五顆星的好評;今年十一月,這齣製作即將轉戰倫敦,於溫德漢劇院(Wyndham’s Theatre)與觀眾見面。談及本劇的核心價值,導演麥克斯・韋伯斯特如此說道:「劇場之所以魅幻精彩,乃是因為有一群創作者願意腦力激盪、發想共創;到最後,他們的心血結晶也使得觀眾隨之擴展胸懷、想像全開。」


Photo Credit: Johan Persson