A new article was published on the main Birmingham Royal Ballet website last week, in which Marion Tait discussed some of her more wicked roles. Featured, of course, were Carabosse from The Sleeping Beauty (pictured right), and the Stepmother from our new production of Cinderella.
Speaking of the character of the Stepmother, she said:
‘David [Bintley] has given me a pointer as to how he originally envisaged the Wicked Stepmother. He said he loved the restraint of the stepmother in the Disney version. I actually hadn’t seen it, but he told me that she speaks very quietly, and she never raises her voice. That immediately gives me shivers just thinking about it!’
‘It’s probably going to be an example of the Michael Caine school of acting – one eyebrow, and one move of the eyes rather than the whole head. Hopefully if you’ve got the audience gripped you’ll draw them in and they will see every little movement.’
Click here to read the full interview.
While Marion Tait will be creating the role of the wicked stepmother, the Company Ballet Mistress has also been helping David Bintley to recruit additional dancers for Cinderella.
‘We have a scene where you see Cinderella and the sisters when they were very young’ reveals David, ‘and so Marion has been up to Elmhurst [Birmingham Royal Ballet's associated ballet school] and auditioned some of the students. They will also play a couple of mice later in the story. Those are dancing roles, which is why we’re specifically using Elmhurst students rather than just child actors.’
Marion attended class at the school recently, and was introduced to a class of first-year students by former Company Ballet Master, now Elmhurst Artistic Director Desmond Kelly. So as not to cause any nerves, the children were simply told that Marion was simply there to observe class. It was only afterwards that they were approached separately and invited to join the cast for Cinderella. Once the Company returns from the autumn tour, the students will join Birmingham Royal Ballet’s dancers for the weeks leading up to the premiere of the new work.
David Bintley has commented on working with Marion Tait on the role of the Stepmother.
Speaking over the summer, he said:
‘Marion is a terrific actress. The great thing about working with her is that when you give her a role she really thinks about it and brings a lot to it. She makes a lot of suggestions, which is great for me!
‘It should be a very interesting role, because I really want this woman to be monstrous. Not in an obvious “Carabosse” way, but in much more of a mean and calculated way. There’s an element of Betty Davis and Joan Crawford – or Mrs Danvers, Miss Faversham, those monstrous literary creations. She should be the absolute fairytale stepmother, who of course in those original stories is an immensely powerful force.’
Footage recorded for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 20th anniversary shows earlier this year featured Director David Bintley talking about his current ballet staff.
While discussing the Company’s Ballet Mistress Marion Tait, he revealed that Marion would be creating the role of the Stepmother in this winter’s brand new production of Cinderella!