By Barb Hall, adapted from the short stories of Roald Dahl
Directed by Barb Hall and Tyler Longmire
Production design by Rene Linares
Lighting design by Jessica Macleod
Stage Management by Lydia Comer
Featuring Alex Plouffe, Emily Piggford, Marina Legace, Jay Mitchell, Shaan Rahman, Alannah Turner, Heather Fraser, and Graham Nathan
Adapted from “Tales of the Unexpected” by Roald Dahl:
- The Umbrella Man
- Lamb To The Slaughter
- Royal Jelly
- The Sound Machine
Student Alternative Theatre Company Showcase, 2009
In co-production with Intrepid Theatre
Metro Studio, Victoria BC
April 30, May 1, 2, 2009
Follow the Umbrella Man – or is it old Roald himself? – as he encounters some truly mischievous characters, their stories brought to vivid cartoon life using overhead projectors and shadow puppetry…
In 2008 my friend Barb Hall adapted a selection of Roald Dahl’s short stories for SATCo, the Student Alternative Theatre Company at the University of Victoria. She staged it with a company of 10 actors, 4 overhead projectors, and 8 puppeteers. I was one of those actors, and it was a fantastic – we got to really cut loose and get silly. Roald Dahl isn’t known for his naturalism.
SATCo held a contest to re-mount the ‘best’ shows of the 2008 season in conjunction with Intrepid Theatre at their Metro Studio in downtown Victoria, a sort of semi-professional opportunity for students to get some experience producing their own work outside of a university context. We held a vote and the students in our theatre department chose this show and another, ‘Art’ by Yasmina Reza and directed by Nathan Brown, to receive a fully-paid-for production in the spring.
However, Barb was unable to direct it the second go-around, and asked me to take it on. We worked on her adaptations, cut it down to four stories, and working with our production designer Rene Linares managed to stage the show the following spring in 2009.
This was my first real introduction to shadow puppetry, overhead projectors, and directing large ensembles. Working with 3-dimensional actors projecting shadows onto a 2-dimensional screen, while choreographing the puppeteer’s actions to interact with the actor’s shadows, was so interesting to me that I have been exploring the form ever since.