You’ve seen the movies, now go to Toronto, Ontario to see the play.
I am, of course, talking about the upcoming production at Toronto’s Prince of Wales Theatre production of the Lord of the Rings. If you are wondering how the giant fantasy epic that author J.R.R. Tolkien filled 1000 pages and Peter Jackson filled three long movies, can possibly be presented on stage, you are not alone.
Reviewers, while acknowledging that the stage brings with it some inherent limitations when attempting to perform such a huge tale, have compared it to some of Shakespeare’s great battle productions, with action simultaneously occurring from one end of the giant stage to another.
In fact, director and adapter, Matthew Warchus agrees with the Shakespeare analogy. He likens the production to “a Shakespearean play and a Cirque de Soleil show sort of woven together,”
Then there is the problem of what to call such a vast production like this. Producer, Kevin Wallace is adamant that The Lord of the Rings is not a musical. “It is a hybrid production, because this is not any of those things singularly–it is all of those things.”
The Lord of the Rings already holds the distinction of being the most expensive theater production ever, running up a cost of more than $24 million. It makes full use of the Prince of Wales Theatre’s revolving stage, has a cast of 55, an orchestra of 18 and 17 elevators. NPR News reported that, “tree roots from the proscenium arch envelop the auditorium, actors fly and appear on stilts 10 feet high. There’s even a massive spider puppet.
Initially the producers wanted to open in London, but couldn’t find a large enough theater, but the Prince of Wales Theatre in Toronto was ideal. Lord of the Rings is scheduled to cross over the Atlantic in the Fall to open in London, and will not appear on Broadway for years.
COPYRIGHT© 2006, Charles Brown. All rights reserved.