The many millions of travellers through Terry Pratchett’s Discworld will already know that it is a startlingly weird universe – a “flat planet from a spare set of dimensions sitting on the back of 4 elephants who stand on the back of a turtle.” Rebecca Beard’s stage adaptation of ‘Soul Music’, the 16th in the series of novels set on the planet, may not include elephants or turtles but in all other ways it aims to bring the crazy, zany world of Pratchett’s imagination to life.
Wellington Theatre Company – formerly The Civic Players – are currently in rehearsal for the production which opens at The Arts Centre at the beginning of next month.
Rebecca Beard and Mike Leach, who worked together on the script, are ardent Discworld fans. Rebecca explained: “The novels I like are the ones where he looks at something in this universe and puts a Discworld take on it.” In ‘Soul Music’ Pratchett satirizes rock and roll music and stardom.
In directing the show – her first production for the company – Rebecca says she aims to “bring the characters to life so that people recognise their favourites and enjoy the whole story. To do that I’ve deliberately kept the settings very simple but we’ll be using special effects as much as we can. There’ll be a lot of sound tracks and music.” The music itself has been approved by a cast that covers a wide age range so rock and roll from Chuck Berry onwards will feature. Rebecca added, “The band will be interesting. They’re passing through rock and roll history at a rate of knots so they’ll have a lot of costume changes.” Those who know ‘Soul Music’ will expect an orang-utang – and they won’t be disappointed.
Asked about the wide appeal of Discworld novels she said, “I think we’ll get a mix of ages in the audience – and people who support the arts generally in Wellington.” The company has put together a succession of fine productions in recent years and ‘Soul Music’ promises to both continue the trend and reach new audiences – particularly those who love Discworld.
The production – which promises to be “mad, crazy, hilarious – and not to be missed” will be at Wellington Arts Centre, Eight Acre Lane from Wednesday 2 to Saturday 5 September at 7.30pm with a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm. Tickets are available online from www.ticketsource.co.uk/wellingtonartscentreor, phone on 0844 997 9000 or from Nurtured by Nature, 25 South Street, Wellington.