I’d like to see how exactly they will bring this scene to the stage!
Wanted: One More Gandalf
City Voice – April 19, 2000
One would have thought that the capital was just about reaching Lord of the Rings saturation point, but last week a handful of Wellington actors were auditioning for another Tolkien production.
Professor Malcolm Cooke and director Christine Anketell are searching for a New Zealand actor for the pivotal role of Gandalf in a stage production of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. The show has been playing to packed houses in Australia for the past two years and the company is bringing it to New Zealand in August.
Anketell emphasised the importance of Gandalf in the production, describing him as the character who holds it all together. She said they were looking for an actor with great stage presence and a well-trained voice, as “Tolkien’s language demands an ability to deliver text to the audience”.
Gandalf is relied upon to maintain a rapport with the audience both by narrating the story, and participating in the action. The successful actor will also have to master feats of magic and sword fighting, as the show relies on Gandalf’s ability to communicate a sense of mystery. “He is very powerful, but he has a lot of warmth — he loves Bilbo and the other hobbits,” Anketell said.
This production of The Hobbit brings more than 80 characters to life, using the skills of puppeteers and a variety of mediums. Billed by reviewers in Australia as a visual feast, the show is likely to be a popular drawcard for Tolkien fans who are finding it difficult to wait for the LOTR film trilogy.
“The Hobbit” has captivated the hearts, minds and imagination of people wherever we have been, and it’s now New Zealand’s turn to share the magic,” said Cooke. The tour opens in Auckland in August before coming to the Opera House in Wellington in September.