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Blind Summit Will Bring Puppet Ballet To LA's Hollywood Bowl


Award-winning puppetry innovators, Blind Summit (London, UK), are delighted to announce that they have been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to present Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, on Tuesday 20 August 2019. It is part of a Russian programme for the orchestra's Classical Tuesday Series, conducted by Bramwell Tovey and narrated by the critically acclaimed stage and film actor John C. Reilly.

Fully utilising the cameras and the huge live relay screens around the world renowned 17,000-seater venue, the ambitious new puppet-led production from Blind Summit's artistic director, Mark Down, will use the whole Bowl as its stage. The close up, on screen visuals will not only give the audience a more immersive experience, the action will assist in bringing Prokofiev's popular music to life, making it brighter, fuller and more alive throughout the 30-minute production.

Peter, a three-puppeteer operated, life sized ballet puppet, will skip through the crowd, which becomes the big green meadow, jumping on tables and climbing over the audience. The other characters, brought to life by masked dancers, will appear from different places all over the Bowl before gracefully moving around the arena as the heroic tale unfolds. The bird pops up at the back of the orchestra, which transforms into the tree, while the cat slinks into view and relaxes at the base of the tree. The duck waddles round the edge of the pond (the Passerelle) filled with the dining audience; and the wolf appears seductively from behind the narrator and begins to skulk around the big green meadow and the pond seeking out its prey.

The narrator, played by John C Reilly, is also fully involved in the action of Blind Summit's production. As a visiting dignitary he is there to present Peter, a boy who exemplifies the ideals of a pioneer and an example to all, with a medal. With a pair of binoculars becoming the narrator's point of view, relayed onto the big screens of the Hollywood Bowl, he finds the characters around the arena and the instruments within the orchestra as he introduces them one at a time. Using the binoculars to capture the action around the arena, he recounts Peter's brave exploits to the gathered crowd before the final medal presentation.

Mark Down, Artistic Director of Blind Summit said: "I was hugely excited to be asked to make a puppet interpretation of Peter and the Wolf at the Hollywood Bowl with the LA Phil. When I first listened to Peter's theme, I immediately saw a three-man operated puppet skipping on stage. In a workshop the music really came alive when we interpreted it as ballet. The formal stylised mime language made it sound witty, playful and full. Our production fast developed into a puppet ballet.

"I see Peter and the Wolf not so much as a fairy tale, but as propaganda to promote classical music. It can also be seen as propaganda for the ideals of the Soviet Union in 1936 which gave us the concept of a medal giving ceremony. This also inspired us to look to the Socialist Realist art of the 1930s, to create visually what we heard Prokofiev doing musically."

Blind Summit's production of Peter and the Wolf was commissioned by the LA Philharmonic. It is directed by Blind Summit's artistic director and master puppeteer, Mark Down, together with co-designers Ruth Paton and Fiona Clift, who have collaborated on a number of Blind Summit productions, and with choreography from Daniel Hay Gordon (The Royal Ballet, Staatsoper Berlin and Sadler's Wells).

Talented puppeteers Laura Caldow, Fiona Clift and Sean Garratt will bring Peter to life alongside the other characters played by masked dancers, Patricia Langa (Bird), Sean Murray (Duck and Hunter), Will Thompson (Cat), Ruben Brown (Wolf) and Eleanor Perry (Grandpa).

TMAX Productions are in the process of documenting the making of Blind Summit's Peter and the Wolf in a series of short videos. The first episodes can be viewed here

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