Pet project well pre­pared

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Tanya MacNaughton

PREPA­RA­TION has been the key for The Last Great Hunt per­form­ers and co-cre­ators Arielle Gray and Tim Watts when it comes to their lat­est pro­duc­tion New Owner.

The lo­cal in­de­pen­dent theatre com­pany was cho­sen to present the show, for ages seven years and up, at this year’s Awe­some In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val for Bright Young Things.

The cou­ple was also booked for a tour of an­other show, It’s Dark Out­side, to South Korea just days be­fore their pro­duc­tion week was set to be­gin.

“We first de­vel­oped the show in May 2015 for a weekand-a-half,” Gray said from Seoul.

“Then a year later, we spent three-and-a-half weeks at a res­i­dency at the Ki­nosaki Arts Cen­tre in Ja­pan, plus we have had three weeks to work on it in the lead-up to this tour so we have had a lot of time to de­velop the themes, style, nar­ra­tive, pup­pets and set.

“Hav­ing said that, Tim is an­i­mat­ing in the ho­tel room in Seoul and we also brought the pup­pets with us to re­hearse.”

It was while on an­other tour of It’s Dark Out­side when Gray and Watts first had the idea for New Owner, which is a story of the ad­ven­tures and ex­pe­ri­ences a dog, Bernie, has dur­ing his life­time, told from the dog’s per­spec­tive, us­ing pup­pets, an­i­ma­tion and masks.

“We have a scene in It’s Dark Out­side where a dog (a pup­pet made of fluff) is re­united with his owner and Snowy (the dog) is al­ways a hot favourite with au­di­ences the world over,” Gray said.

“We started think­ing about dogs and how if you adopt one, you have no way of know­ing what

ex­pe­ri­ences or ad­ven­tures your pet has had prior to com­ing into your fam­ily. So we de­cided to tell that story.”

Gray plays many hu­man char­ac­ters in the show and pup­peteers one of the dogs.

She said they chose a dog, rather than any other an­i­mal, for their un­wa­ver­ing loy­alty, in­no­cence, cheek­i­ness and adorable ap­pear­ance.

“I hope au­di­ences of all ages go on a jour­ney with the show,” she said.

“I hope they think about the im­por­tance of love, friend­ship and com­pan­ion­ship, and I hope they leave see­ing things a lit­tle more from a dog’s per­spec­tive.”

Arielle Gray and Bernie.

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