We are ever so excited about Octonauts Live coming to the stage next month and are very honoured to have an EXCLUSIVE Q&A with the director and adaptor of the show, Richard Lewis. And we even have a sneaky extra giveaway at the bottom…don’t miss it! But first, some suitably facetious questions from LWAT to Richard…
Were you a big Octofan before you wrote the show? Are you now?
I’d heard of “Octonauts”, but not enough to have become a fan. Now though, having watched a zillion episodes, not only am I a fan but my wife tells me I talk like Captain Barnacles in my sleep!
Were you aware just how obsessed small children can get with the Octonauts?
It’s just beginning to dawn on me. When I tell people what my current project is and, if they have pre-school children they suddenly become my new best friend and ask if I can arrange for the child to meet them
Do you have 24-hour security surrounding the sets in case one of them tries to break in?
We’re actually protected by the same police officers who protect the prime minister!
Is there a meet and greet after the performance?
There are meet and greets but as spaces are extremely restricted, these are only available via competitions and these can be found in local press … and your favourite mummy blogs
How do you handle the underwater elements of the show?
Through a variety of formats. On the one hand we have projected animation of water and sea life on a giant backdrop behind the Octopod and on the other through blacklight techniques that allow us to show the Octonauts in the water with weightlessness and bouyancy
My son loves a bit of marine biology – which sea creatures can we expect to see in and around the deep sea volcano?
Ah ha! Well, angler fish, jelly fish and siphonophores…and some others that will be a surprise!
The CGI on “Octonauts” is getting ever crisper and deeper – how do you recreate that on stage?
In one sense you don’t. We do have terrific projectors that illuminate our world with amazing clarity. Additionally we use the animated computer-ending that is used in the TV show. So, where we show it, it is both original and crisp. However, a key part of what we have to do with the adaptation is transfer it to a stage and live environment – so we use theatre forms and techniques to do this, but this is appropriate as we are adapting to a live medium.
What other TV shows would you like to adapt? I know you have some secret projects on the go at the moment…
Errrrrm, if I told you that I’d have to kill you! We are working on some really exciting new projects for children but, although they are confirmed, so much of my focus is on Octonauts I find it hard to not not give 100% concentration to that while I’m on it.
Thinking of “Peppa Pig’s Big Splash” for a second…I’ve had a fair amount of experience watching toddler-aimed theatre. What do you do about the audience noise? How do you handle the sound without turning it up to deafening levels?
I would say this wouldn’t I…but the key thing is to make the noise a part of your show, then it’s under your control. We also look for a subliminal control mechanism within the show itself…so you get the kids to shout when you want them to and then hopefully create a sufficiently strong narrative that they are drawn into, being quieter in other parts of the play. I have been to our shows and you could have heard a pin drop in places as the kids were so engrossed.
Small children are also renowned for their honesty as well as their noise…what’s the most interesting feedback you’ve had from one of your audience members?
There is so much interesting stuff they say. But often they might say “it’s great hearing all the songs from the television” and quite often there are hardly any songs from the TV show at all. That usually means we’ve got our adaptation right, i.e. to the audience member , it feels like the TV show.
And finally….what is going on with Shellington and Dashi? Will we see some Octolove blooming on stage?
I couldn’t possibly comment!
You may have guessed what the giveaway is, given the sneaky reference above but here it is…we have a family ticket PLUS meet and greet with the Octo-characters to give away! Whoop!! Just fill in the form below and make sure you enter before the closing date of 1st October. The show is touring the country, so you can choose the nearest theatre to you!