The scripts are down, the costumes are gathered and show week is rapidly approaching; all the Dulwich Players need now is an idyllic setting in which to bring Philip Pullman’s interpretation of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales to life. Happily for us, we have just that in the gardens of Bell House.
While most of the rest of the cast had already seen the gardens, last Sunday was my first opportunity to climb Rapunzel’s tower, shelter under the good wife’s juniper tree and accompany the old king to his final resting place, surrounded by roses. Bringing all of these characters to life in the sunshine at Bell House, enveloped by the smells and colours of the borders, really does feel like we are drawing them out of their dusty old tomes and into the real world, albeit one sheltered from the hubbub of modern life.
It isn’t the first time that I have performed an outdoor production and many of the Dulwich Players are old hands at it, but this version of Grimms’ Fairy Tales is something new for all of us; not only will we each being embodying a whole host of characters (and the plethora of accents which comes with that), but we will be taking the audience with us on a very literal journey through the meadows and bowers of fairyland. Interacting with the garden is both refreshing and unsettling: no more ‘could you just move that chair to the left a bit?’, as ‘the chair’ is suddenly a metal globe, or a tree, or a bridge, none of which are going anywhere. Now it is up to us to meld with the space and be part of the Bell House's garden.
Performing these short plays in a garden makes perfect sense, and brings a whole new dimension to these ancient stories. Fairytales are all about how the human and the natural intermingle, be it hedgehog-boys, magical singing birds or life-giving leaves. You are warmly invited to explore it with us.
Performances are on in the gardens of Bell House - Thursday 21st June and Friday 22nd at 8pm, Saturday 23rd at 5pm and 8pm, and Sunday 24th at 2pm and 5pm.
As this is an outdoor performance, please come prepared for the weather. You are welcome to bring your own seating or hire it from us.
Tickets available from Bell House, at www.dulwichplayers.org or from Art Stationers