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Link to Matthew Bourne excerpts on Swan Lake
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Excerpts from:               Matthew Bourne's Adventures in Motion Pictures

This book is done in interview style with Alastair Macaulay (AM) conversing with Matthew Bourne (MB)


                                                     
~ Cinderella ~


AM: So, as you're starting to cast your production, you decide to use Sarah Wildor and Adam Cooper from the Royal Ballet, the Royal Ballet School-trained Will Kemp - whom you liked so much doing the Swan that you decided to give him the role of the Angel - and the famous dramatic ballerina Lynn Seymour, who had worked so well in your company in Swan Lake.  That means that the four leading roles in your work, in the first cast, are taken by dancers from the Royal Ballet or Royal Ballet School stable.  This is quite a change of dance material for you.

MB: I can't say I was ever conscious of trying to get more ballet people, let alone more Royal Ballet people, into the company.  It has been misinterpreted quite a lot, both in and outside the company.  'What is this company then?' people have said. 'I thought that we were building up something to do with a certain type of dancer doing the kind of work that we do; but then we bring in all these guests.  Why can't you build up people from within and create your own stars?'
  I can understand this feeling, but I didn't see it like that.  For one thing, I think I have always built up people within the company, where it seems appropriate:  Scott Ambler, Etta Murfitt, Maxine Fone, Ben Wright are just the leading examples.  Will Kemp may have come from the Royal Ballet School, but the Royal Ballet wasn't going to give him a job.  He took the risk of joining our company - nobody there encouraged him, quite the opposite - and now he has achieved greater fame and larger roles with us than any of his contemporaries whom the Royal Ballet School favoured more.  Probably, he wouldn't have been right for the Royal; and almost certainly none of his contemporaries would be right for Adventures in Motion Pictures.  As I've said before, most of the ballet people - Royal or otherwise - who now audition for us are just wrong for my work, whatever their strengths may be in other directions.
  I remain very interested in ballet and hope there will be other ballets to follow; but the heart of my work for the foreseeable future is with Adventures in Motion Pictures, and I'm quite clear that there is a strong, distinction between what it does and what ballet companies do.  My work with Adam, Sarah and Lynn came about because they expressed an interest in my work.  They happen to be the kind of exceptional artist who can commute between the two genres.
  Lynn, after all, is the prime example - being the foremost dance actress of the last forty years. I always think she's one of those few dancers who's completely accepted by the whole world of dance, like Baryshnikov.  Whereas a lot of contemporary dancers don't get the point of such ballerinas as Antoinette Sibley or Darcey Bussell, they do with Lynn Seymour.  They completely respect and admire her, and it seems to me that her home now is in this kind of work.  If any company can assure further life on stage for Lynn now, I hope ours is the one.  Like-wise, Adam and Sarah are known as the up-and-coming dancer-actors of their generation.
  Sarah apart, much of my policy in casting
Cinderella was to give roles, invent roles, in some cases - for performers who had made an impression with Swan Lake or other AMP works.  I knew I was going to have the character of the Pilot (the hero) played by Adam and Will, just as they had worked on the same role in Swan Lake.  I also tried to have Simon Cooper in that role: we needed three casts, and he had worked very well as the Swan.  He had had real rapport with Saranne Curtin as the Queen in Swan Lake; he's very tall and would have been, temperamentally, a good partner for her; but I think he didn't want to work on a production alongside his brother Adam and endure the inevitable sibling comparisons from the very beginning of the production.
  Then, because Will had had particular success in
Swan Lake, and because Emily (Pearcy) had become very popular with the audiences as the Prince's Girlfriend, I wanted to give them roles in the first cast of Cinderella.  We had won a new public, who had favourite performers, and I wanted to make a show that would give them a reason to come back and see it with multiple casts.  So I purposely put Will in that first cast, with his own role; likewise Emily as a sister, and Scott Ambler, Ben Wright and Andrew Walkinshaw (who's not really a dancer, but had been such a good performer as the young Prince in Swan Lake) as brothers.  Whether or not everybody noticed, Cinderella was to do, not with me moving in the direction of Royal Ballet, but with the returning Adventures in Motion Pictures to a more intimate, ensemble way of working.

Following excerpt added 02-10-03

AM: We've talked of how some performers developed during rehearsals and previews.  In the three performances I saw, I was especially struck by the difference between Adam Cooper and William Kemp as the Pilot.

MB: I was surprised at how logically Will had thought through the whole thing - he hadn't shown in rehearsal that he would be quite that thorough.  I know now that he had thought it through with detail and feeling, but the naturalness of it was a very happy surprise to me in the theatre.  Some dancers don't look as if they know why they're doing what they're doing.  It looks like:  'Now I move here - and I look here - and I do this', which drives me mad.   So, when I see someone who makes their performance work in that way, it's very exciting.
     As with
Swan Lake, there were several details that Adam just did naturally to perfection.  Will had to work harder.  At first, he made some of the English-smoothie character of the Pilot in Act Two funny in a way I hadn't intended.  He got real laughs: it was witty.  But I wanted to preserve the romance of the character, the real emotion behind it.  He had understood the whole shape of the role, however, and he caught the nervous breakdown in Act Three with an intensity that was all his own.  Adam has relaxation on stage that works uniquely well at several moments:  when he lights a cigarette and looks at Cinderella, he's so calm that it's a powerful moment.
     They're both very good in the role, and for them it was good to be dancing the role of the Angel as well.