Courtesy of Nick Flinch
Projections and live animation are the basis of one U.K.-based theater company, called “1927.”
The company is set to open its latest piece “The Animals and Children Took to the Streets” at the Wexner Center for the Arts’ Performance Space Thursday at 8 p.m.
Sue Appleby, who plays different roles in the production, said the production tells the story of two main characters, Agnes, a single mother, and Evie, her young daughter, who come to visit an urban slum, called the Bayou. They are unaware of the town’s dangerous reputation, which includes wolves and deranged children.
“The children around there have gone wild,” Appleby said. “(The mother and daughter) come to bring change along the Bayou mansion. It’s about, ‘How do they survive?’ and ‘Do they bring change?’ Those are the questions.”
Chuck Helm, director of performing arts at the Wexner Center, saw the production last summer at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. He said he enjoyed the elaborate stage, complete with projections of animations and open areas in the set where actors’ heads can pop out.
“It has (an) inventive use of projections of the actors, because it’s supposed to look like a graphic novel,” Helm said. “It’s very dark humor … twisted stuff. It’s a different show in that way.”
Max Glenn, a graduate student in theater, plans to attend the performance on Thursday and said live animation and projections are common to see. He has seen similar attempts in other cities.
“The Redmoon Theater company did something similar in Chicago,” Glenn said. “It was an award-winning production where they presented a graphic novel through window panes. It was called ‘The Astronaut’s Birthday.'”
Keeping in mind the timing of the animation paired with the music and acting, Appleby said the roles she plays were challenging.
“I play piano through(out) the show, sing and act,” Appleby said. “There were a lot of tricky elements to master. They gave me the score two months before I was rehearsing. I was given video of the animated film to start and piece everything together. I hold the reins for (the timing) throughout the (production).”
Certain themes in the production are relatable to theatergoers around the world, Appleby said.
“Everywhere we’ve taken it, it (has) impacted (others) with universal themes,” Appleby said. “The poor getting poorer and (the rich) ruling over big banks, which is mentioned at the beginning.”
Along those lines, she added, “This (play) speaks to everyone (and) puts down all language barriers.”
Appleby promises the show will consist of “lots of hearty laughter” as well as beauty.
“You can feel the excitement when people see the animation,” Appleby said. “The animation is absolutely beautiful, funny, quirky, and it’s very exciting for them to see it.”
Appleby said she is excited to perform in Columbus and has enjoyed exploring the city.
“We have been shopping at (a) vintage store, eaten like kings and booked ourselves in for yoga. It’s great here,” she said.
Performances are scheduled for Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for students and must be purchased at the front desk of the Wexner Center with BuckID. General admission tickets cost $18 and can be purchased through the Wexner Center’s website.