Ben's blog
June 08
Ben writes:

After our first performance of donning the long-johns and vests for our version of
Animal Farm, the cast are getting a little giddy!

I hasten to add that the giddiness is not due to the questionable costume, but
rather because the challenge of staging this controversial classic is one which we
are all relishing!

Our first performance, last night at the Bradford Playhouse, was a huge success.
The very appreciative audience gave some excellent feedback to us after the
show, and with the odd bout of blushing, the cast enjoyed all the praise!

I play Napoleon –the (and I quote) “young stud boar” who in the end becomes a
tyrannical and rather nasty dictator. What a great part! I am so enjoying getting
to grips with such a ‘baddie’ – a characteristic I am completely unfamiliar with! Ha!

Initially I said that I’d never really played a villain before, but after revising my CV
recently, I noticed I’m not that unfamiliar with the genre, after all.  With Paper Zoo,
I’ve had the privilege of playing Ebenezer Scrooge – undoubtedly one of the most
famous villains of all time; Pozzo – without doubt the most evil character in
Waiting For Godot; Pringle – quite a calculating and manipulative, bent
cult leader in
Funeral Games and more recently Pontius Pilate in Bradford's
Passion Play. However, despite playing these characters, I do think Napoleon, or
‘Nappie’ as the other cast members call me, is a different kind of villain. There is
no hidden agenda or falseness to ‘Nappie’, he is quite simply a bully and makes
no bones about it. It is only due to the dimness of the other animals that this
aggressive and fascist boar actually gets away with it. I am, however, writing
about the character as a pig and not looking deeper into the satire of Orwell’s
story – the true character behind Napoleon…Joseph Stalin.

Anyway, rather than reading my beginnings of a critical essay, why not come to
see our production and see if
you like old ‘Nappie’ –hopefully not!

I am so proud of Paper Zoo’s enthusiasm and passion for
Animal Farm. On first
reading the script, we had our doubts of staging etc, but the distance we’ve
travelled in the past few weeks has been immense and I strongly believe we have
one of our strongest productions afoot!

The future?! Well, only 12 days after our final Animal Farm outing, we will be
performing at the Bradford Cathedral with
Valentine – our evening of poetry,
song and readings on the subject of love. I am so eager to reprise this again, and
also to implement some changes before taking it to the Fringe in August –
something we are all ecstatic about.

So, finally, I would like to wish you a very good Summer – enjoy the warm weather
while it lasts and remember – “all animals are equal, but some animals are more
equal than others”.

Ben (Nappie)
Rehearsal photos
Perfecting my grunts!
The three stooges!
Discussing the dogs with
Emily and Dave.
One of the rare times that
Dave and I were completely
serious during rehearsals!