I, Peaseblossom: designer's notes
"Tim is an actor who hates complicated props and set" says Graeme. "To put it bluntly, I have to make sure that everything is idiot proof! Well, to be fair, he has a lot to concentrate on whilst he is on stage and the last thing he wants to be worrying about is fiddly bits and pieces. For example, it took a lot of tries to get a mechanism on the wings that worked in exactly the way he needed (see the costume page for details).
"Some of the story of I, Peaseblossom is told using dolls. This works very well with the whole Christopher Robin thing, but it meant that there would have to be a good few props. Again, as with the wings, I wanted the dolls to look quite roughly put together - like a child had made them. They dance around on a musical wind up cot mobile that I have customised for the play.
"So it turned out that there was one prop moment that Tim was really scared of - it's the part where Bottom gains an asses head whilst Peasblossom is having a nightmare. It involved a fair bit of fiddling, but the effect was good, it told the story well and we decided it had to stay. However, Tim couldn't really manage it with all the other stuff he is doing onstage at the time, so we came up with a radical solution: put another person on stage to do it for him.
"Of course, the budget meant we couldn't afford another actor, but the show has to tour with a stage manager to operate the sound, so we thought "why not put Alex (the stage manager) on stage?". This works really nicely as it means the audience can see all the mechanics of the production and Alex doesn't ever seem out of place because it is all a dream and anything is possible. We put her in a cagoule with the hood string drawn up tightly and she sits to one side looking a bit nerdy and fiddling with knobs. It's quite charming, really. "
When you come to the Unicorn, you will see that Tim has since found some other uses for the stage manager...