A View From The Wings
REP Volunteer and photographer, Rachel Mason ventured into the wings to capture our final week of The Hundred And One Dalmatians. Here's her view.
Earlier this month I was given exclusive access behind the scenes of The REP's production of The Hundred and One Dalmatians.
Having already seen the show as a member of the audience I was naturally intrigued how everything comes together behind the scenes. There's a huge amount of dogs (of the puppet kind) for starters.
Before act one began, I explored behind the sets. It's dimly lit, but by following a luminescent tape path on the floor, the actors can safely guide their way round the back of the stage. Along the way, I capture the prop tables with spotlights highlighting items such as the puppies, Cruella's driving wheel, additional furniture and an emergency repair table for the poor puppies that get damaged in action.There is a quick change dressing room with Cruella's iconic fur coat hanging amongst other costumes.
As the show starts the actors find various ways of spending time before their entrance or cue. Whether it means lying on the floor (operating the puppets means they spend a large proportion of the time bending over), playing with the puppies or completing a crossword.
Backstage is very busy. It's non-stop throughout the show with parts of the set being moved around and many dogs, including an Afghan Hound and a Pug, constantly being picked up and placed back onto the prop tables. At one point, Dalmatian Pongo peers out to the audience as the scene moves onto the Badduns making a surprise appearance into the audience. It's a delight to hear the young crowd shouting wildly as they question them into where those puppies are hiding. As the show comes to an end the stage is transformed into a festive setting, with a huge tree covered in lights.
Regardless of having a full on show, everyone is still full of energy. The actors all take a final bow and the crowd clap and cheer excitedly as one by one the cast run off stage with huge smiles on their faces. It's a magical end to the show. Even from backstage you can truly feel the wonderful atmosphere that this show brings.
To see Rachel's photos head over to @heyrachelmason on Instagram