MammaMiaNov09 Page 1 of 8 1 MAMMA MIA! – introduction Welcome to this introduction to Mamma Mia! – a musical based around songs by the 1970’s pop group ABBA. Music and lyrics are by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, with some songs by Stig Anderson. The book is by Catherine Johnson, and the production is directed by Phyllida Lloyd. The VocalEyes audio-described performance will be given on Tuesday 17 th November at the Prince of Wales Theatre. There will be a touch tour at 5.45pm, the introductory notes will start at 7.15, and the performance itself at 7.30pm. For safety reasons the number of people able to attend the touch tour are limited and have been allocated on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis. If you have not already done so, please could you confirm with the theatre whether or not you have a place on the touch tour. Their number is 0131 524 3301 The production lasts for approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes including an interval. The live audio description will be given for VocalEyes by Louise Fryer and Julia Grundy There now follows information about Mamma Mia which includes descriptions of the set, costumes and characters. This will be followed by some useful information and contact details. The story is set on a tiny, imaginary Greek island. When we first enter the auditorium the stage is screened from us by a front cloth, streaked with dappled blue light. The front of the stage projects in a slight curve towards the auditorium. The band is positioned just under the curve of the stage and the Musical Director sits at a keyboard, facing them. After the overture, the front cloth lifts. The sides and back of the box-shaped stage are, again, a wash of blue. Under different lighting conditions the stage is, at times, a vibrant sea-green, at other times a brilliant azure, suggesting endless blue sky merging with a MammaMiaNov09 Page 2 of 8 2 crystal clear sea. Around the edge, the floor of the stage is made of wavy blue boards, framing a circular cobbled area in the centre. Curving across from the back right-hand corner to the front left corner of the stage, is a path made of slats of wood, like a boardwalk. The action is centred round Donna’s Taverna. We visit the beach outside the Taverna, the Taverna’s central courtyard, and a couple of identical bedrooms inside. The set is very simple, just two gently curved whitewashed walls, roughly plastered. The walls are free-standing and moveable, each just over half a metre thick - five metres high at one end, sloping down to just over three metres at the other. The left hand wall is about 7 metres long, the right-hand wall is shorter, only about 3 metres long. Set into each wall is a door made of wooden planks, painted blue, but faded as if by the sun and the sea air. There are also metal rungs positioned at varying heights. These have rusted and stained the white plaster. These curved walls can be moved so that sometimes the outside of the curve is facing us. At other times the inside of the curve is facing us. The play begins on the beach, and the walls are positioned to create the exterior of the Taverna. They stand side by side, wrapping around the front edge of the cobbled area, screening it from view. The door in the left hand wall is a double door, raised a metre above ground level. At its base is a ledge, which the characters can sit on. A post box is set into the wall on the right. As the action moves to the courtyard of the Taverna, the walls are moved into a new configuration. They divide and travel – one to the left, one to the right, around the outer MammaMiaNov09 Page 3 of 8 3 edge of the circle. With their inner faces now towards us, the walls wrap around the back of the courtyard. Overhung by the green branches of a tree, the left hand wall features a narrow flight of steps rising from ground level to the top, as if to the roof. To the right of these steps, double doors lead from unseen rooms inside the Taverna and open onto a stone platform with a couple more steps leading down into the courtyard. The shorter right hand wall features a similar platform in front of a narrower blue door. Metal handrails are set into the wall on either side of the door. The two walls are separated by a narrow gap - the width of the boardwalk – making the main entrance into the taverna from outside. In the courtyard itself are two small square tables, each faded blue and with a scrubbed pine top. Blue painted wooden chairs with cane seats are drawn up to them. Another chair stands on its own on the far left, near the narrow flight of steps. Resting by the bottom step is an acoustic guitar. From the courtyard we move to a bedroom inside the Taverna. Each wall is swung round so that its outer face is towards us. The walls are set side by side, and overlap slightly, with the right hand wall in front, creating a gap which is used as an entrance. The blue double doors in the left hand wall stand open, forming a tall window, though which the green leaves of the tree can be glimpsed. To the left is a double bed, with an iron frame. The bed is covered by a blue and white bedspread with a tasselled fringe. On the right is a small dressing table and chair, and a wooden stool. When we return to the beach, the prow of a wooden fishing boat juts out from the wings on the left hand side of the stage. The boat is painted in bands of white, light blue and dark blue. Its name is painted on a small wooden plaque by the prow, it’s called Waterloo. MammaMiaNov09 Page 4 of 8 4 There are 28 performers in the company with 12 main characters. The first person we meet is Sophie Sheridan. Sophie is a pretty young woman aged about twenty of medium height, with glossy shoulder length chestnut hair. Her slightly elfin face has big dark eyes and a finely chiselled but determined chin. Lithe and tanned, Sophie is girlish and unaffected; flirting cheekily with the older men, or playfully giggling with her friends. However at times, particularly when we first meet her, she can be still and thoughtful. She often wears beach clothes, but first appears in a pale blue blouse worn above a flowing blue skirt Sophie’s mother, Donna Sheridan, runs the island’s only Taverna. Donna is in her mid forties; a striking woman with smooth dark hair worn shoulder length; a still girlish face that has a healthy fresh air tan, dark eyes and a generous mouth which splits into a broad enthusiastic smile. Her everyday clothes are comfortable rather than glamorous; a pale blue cheesecloth top under a baggy pair of navy dungarees, hide her shapely figure. A little touch of glamour is added by a chunky turquoise necklace and a hair band in the same colour. Donna is relaxed and unselfconscious; her movements are supple and athletic, and still retaining a youthful impulsiveness. Her manner is forthright and direct with everyone she meets. In her younger days Donna sang in a pop group, Donna and the Dynamos. The former Dynamos, Rosie and Tanya, come to visit. Tanya is about the same age as Donna, and is tall and statuesque. She has rich mahogany coloured hair and her attractive face, with its fine features and high cheekbones, is heavily made up. Tanya is highly strung, like a nervous greyhound, and waves her hands as she talks. Like Donna, Tanya still moves and dances easily and athletically, still able to perform high kicks and the latest fashion in dances steps. Unlike the others, Tanya definitely dresses for glamour rather than comfort; she has an array of smart, sophisticated clothes, and is seen first wearing a white trouser suit and gold high MammaMiaNov09 Page 5 of 8 5 heeled sandals. Later she dons a tight cream dress, slit up the slide revealing the full length of her graceful legs. The final member of the trio is Rosie, a complete contrast. She is the same age, but short and plump, with a round face, twinkling eyes, a big cheerful smile, and her thick dark hair worn in a silky bob. Rosie has a bustling, commonsense air, but her bubbly personality constantly breaks through, especially when reunited with her two friends. Rosie is certainly no longer as athletic as the others, her clothes strain across her chubby figure; she huffs and puffs as they go into their dance routines, although she attempts to keep up with good humour combined with grim determination. Three other guests arrive at Donna’s Taverna; three men, all in their mid forties. Harry Bright is a small neat man. He has short brown hair, dark eyes and a thin mouth. Although he is initially precise and rather formal, and is obviously uncomfortable in the heat, Harry’s manner soon relaxes and opens up; he begins to wave his hands with a flourish as he talks. He arrives on the island wearing neatly pressed clothes, a white linen top and beige slacks. By contrast Bill Austin is somewhat dishevelled. He is the tallest of the three men, a broad shouldered man with curly brown hair, and his square face wears a pleasant, open expression with an easy smile which wrinkles the attractive laugh lines around his dark eyes. Dressed in a crumpled safari jacket and beige trousers, with an old broad brimmed hat crammed on his head, Bill is hot and red-faced in the heat. The third of the middle aged men is Sam Carmichael, a slim man of medium height. His face is attractive and expressive, with short, black hair, dark eyes and dimples in his cheeks that keep his looks still boyish. Unlike the other two men, Sam is self possessed and cool in the heat, and he moves with an easy confidence. He is an architect, dressed with a designer’s casual style; white linen trousers and a loose white shirt. MammaMiaNov09 Page 6 of 8 6 Apart from the guests at the Taverna, there is a crowd of young people on the island, enjoying the sun and sand, or working in the Taverna. Sophie’s fiancé, Sky, is just above medium height, with a well-toned, muscled body, and powerful shoulders. He is very good looking; with a slim face, dark eyes set into high cheekbones, and his dark hair gelled and spiky. Like Sophie Sky is lively and impulsive with a friendly, uncomplicated manner. Sophie’s two girlfriends mirror her mother’s friends; one, Lisa, being petite, with blonde hair, and the other Ali, is tall and slim, with silky dark hair. Pepper and Eddie are the two lithe young men who help out in Donna’s Taverna. Pepper has tousled brown hair framing a slim face; he is always ready to show off his spectacular dancing skills, and Eddie is more muscly, with spiky dark hair above a square jawed face. The rest of Sophie’s friends are boys and girls of similar age; all in late teens or early twenties. They dress in beach clothes; shorts, t shirts, trunks and beach dresses, in a variety of bright colours: lime greens, pinks and purples. For the most part everyone dresses informally to soak up the Greek sun, but when Donna, Tanya and Rosie reunite to perform as The Dynamos they wear spectacular outfits of white satin; tight fitting tops and trousers, with silver trimmings and large belts with chunky silver buckles. Each costume is slightly different, cut to flatter each woman. Tanya’s long legs are shown off by her knee length silver boots with platform soles. Donna has flowing sleeves and large silver ruffled flares at the bottoms of her trousers; while Rosie has cascades of transparent silver gauze attached to her wrists and the back of her costume, which float out behind her like wings, disguising her fuller figure. MammaMiaNov09 Page 7 of 8 7 Cast and production credits Donna is played by Sally Ann Triplett her daughter Sophie by Niamh Perry Tanya is played by Jane Gurnett, and Rosie by Katy Secombe Three visitors to the island are Harry Bright, played by Paul Ryan Bill Austin, by Christopher Hollis, and Sam Carmichael, by Norman Bowman Sophie’s fiancé Sky is played by Oliver J. Hembrough, and his friends are Pepper, played by Ben Heathcote, and Eddie by Sam Mackay Sophie’s friends are Lisa, played by Laura Selwood, and Ali, played by Jodie Read The part of Father Alexander is played by Gerard Leighton Duffy. Other roles are played by members of the Ensemble: Natalie Andreou, Lucy Boldero, Adam Clayton-Smith, Peter Challis, Nicholas Duncan, Melissa Jacques, Louisa Lydell, Andy Rees, Kimmi Richards, Leanne Rogers, Russell Smith, Anthony Topham and Nicky Wilson. The production has been designed by Mark Thompson With lighting by Howard Harrison The choreography is by Anthony Van Laast And the director is Phyllida Lloyd Useful information and contact numbers Guide dogs are welcome at the Prince of Wales theatre. If you are bringing a Guide MammaMiaNov09 Page 8 of 8 8 Dog, please let the theatre know in advance of your visit, if you have not already done so. Guide dogs can remain with owners in the auditorium during the performance - or with a member of the front of house team if you prefer. If you need to let the theatre know you are bringing a guide dog, or if you require further information before your visit, you can phone one of the three following numbers: Graham Sykes the General Manager on 020 7766 2102, Jane Grater the Theatre Manager on 020 7766 2103, or the box office on 0870 011 7574. To contact VocalEyes, call us on 020 7375 1043. You can receive a copy of the free VocalEyes Newsletter with full details on all our work by calling us or by following the links on the VocalEyes accessible website. The Newsletter is available in print, Braille, on CD or via e-mail. The website address is www.VocalEyes.co.uk. VocalEyes is a charity funded by Arts Council England.