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2008-11-11 – Glasgow, UK: Walking with Dinosaurs show

Il “Walking with Dinosaurs show” arriverà a Glasgow la prossima estate

vedi pure: 2008-10-16 – USA: Incredibile spettacolo teatrale con dinosauri animatronics (dinosaurs, theatrical show)

Meet the experts behind amazing Walking with Dinosaurs show

Nov 11 2008 By Lindsay Clydesdale

COMING face to face with a Tyrannosaurus Rex is a heart-stopping moment – even when you know it’s not real. But it’s a thrill you will be able to experience for yourself when this one comes to Scotland next summer.

The 20-foot T-Rex is star of the s10million Walking With Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacle, which will open its UK tour in Glasgow in July.

Inspired by the award-winning BBC TV series Walking With Dinosaurs, it gives a unique view of the creatures.

Using life-size electronic puppets, the dinosaurs are brought to life.

We went behind the scenes at the show in New Jersey, where the dinos have been continuing their tour of North America.

The only human you’ll see during the show is the narrator, Huxley the paleontologist, who fills the audience in on details, while the creatures roam, roar and fight on the stage.

Behind the scenes are a staff of 65 people, working to make the 15 dinosaurs as realistic as possible.

Touring director Cameron Wenn is responsible for making sure the show stays the same every performance.

But he first got involved when the show was still just an idea scribbled on a piece of paper and he was brought in to work on the script.

“Writing the script and working out what the designers would be able to create was an exciting time because nobody had ever done this before,” he said.

“There were a lot of creative juices flowing and eventually we nailed it down to what is now the show. They were just drawings on paper, so it was amazing to see the dinosaurs finished.

“Everyone’s been blown away by the dinosaurs. Everybody has a fascination for these things, both for the dinosaurs and the technology that makes them work.”

The puppets fall into three categories. The smallest five, including a baby T-Rex, are worn as suits. The nine large monsters, including an adult T-Rex and a 36-foot tall Brachiosaurus, are each operated by a team of three, including an onstage driver.

Each of the larger dinosaurs weighs between three-quarters of a tonne to a tonne and a half, and cost about s380,000 to make.

Michael Hamilton, lead dino driver, spends the show in a tiny chassis underneath the dinosaur. He usually operates the Torosaurus and although his background is in acting, he said common sense was most important.

“My theatre background definitely helps for the way that the show runs but apart from that, a technical background and a good bit of common sense has helped the most,” he said. “It’s not like I have a T-Rex in my backyard I can practise in.”

The larger dinosaurs all have 28 to 32 axis of movement. These are controlled by the Voodoo department, where one person operates the mouth, eyes and sound, while another operates the body movements.

“The three of us work together to become the brain of the dinosaur,” said Graeme Haddon, head of Voodoo, the animatronic puppet department.

“These are the biggest puppets I’ve ever worked with.

“It looks very easy to control, but it takes a lot of practice to get it right. All our puppeteers have at least 10 years experience.

“We stand in the middle of the auditorium, out of sight but operating the dinosaurs by remote control.

Instead of having 16 different remotes, we have a rig that’s like a spine to work dozens of different movements.

“When we first got the dinosaurs, we rehearsed for about 10 weeks before the tour started and the first six weeks was just us playing around with the equipment.”

Actor Justin Terry is head of the Suit Performers. He and five others wear dinosaur suits weighing up to 100lbs, for the five smaller creatures. Justin also often plays the baby T-Rex, another of the show’s most popular dinosaurs.

Atough regime of workouts is needed to keep the actors fit enough to perform in the suits, up to three shows a day.

Justin said: “We don’t go to the gym, but we’ll carry each other on our back and run up six flights of stairs.

“You need really strong leg muscles and core strength to wear the suit.

Co-ordination is important, too, as some of the suits are up to 19ft long, so you need to be strong.”

Inside the suit, Justin also works the head, jaw, eyes and sound effects.

“It’s an intense job and sometimes a bit strange, thinking my job is a dinosaur,” he said. “But I love it. It’s all about co-ordination. We watch nature programmes and films of predatory animals to learn the movements and behaviour so that we can see what makes our costume look like a large, breathing animal that’s hunting and fighting.”

More than two dozen trucks are needed to transport all the dinos and equipment from city to city. Although the show can be packed and ready to leave in five hours, it takes a day and a half to set up.

Touring manager Jake Berry is more used to big egos and personalities, having worked with giants of the music world including The Rolling Stones, U2, Tina Turner, Metallica and AC/DC. Originally from Devon, he now lives in Arizona.

He said: “This production is about the same size as the tours I’m used to doing. There’s about 26 trucks and a lot of lights and sound equipment.

Except our stars are animatronic creatures instead of guitar heroes.

“If it’s anything like the TV show, it’s going to be hugely successful. So to take the show to my home country is really important to me and I’m looking forward to it.”

Two million people have seen the show, including rock star Slash who revealed he is a dinosaur obsessive.

“It’s been a big success with everyone and they want to bring their kids,” said Cameron Wenn.

“We’ve had some funny requests from people, but we always say no.

“They don’t really think it through, for example, where would you store a dinosaur?”

While there’s potential for new versions of the show, at the moment the crew are concentrating on continuing the current run’s success.

Cameron added: “This show is booked for all of 2009 so it’s unlikely that dinosaurs are going to be extinct again any time soon.”

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novembre 11, 2008 - Posted by | - R. Dinosauri, Curiosità, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , ,

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