Combining live puppetry and miniatures with multimedia sets, animation, music and live footage, A Moon Safari by Steam Bicycle treats the audience to both behind-the-scenes filmmaking and a live theatre performance at the same time.
Nellie Lettuce’s only wish is to ride a bicycle but she’s locked inside her Victorian home by over-protective Uncle Zebulon. Zebulon fears that The Mysterious Cheese Thieves ransacking the town of Lardville will snatch her away. But Zebulon has failed to tell Nellie his plan to foil the Thieves. When Nellie finds a red button hidden inside her Uncle’s teapot she is launched on a journey of self-reliance and the adventure of a lifetime!
A Moon Safari by Steam Bicycle is a fantastical wormhole for the imagination, featuring whimsical Jules Verne-esque inventions and ridiculous Victoriana characters, while playfully looking at a time when social values were rigid and grilled cheese was a known food group.
First time theatre director, Lucas says he is energised by the possibilities of working with a new form.
“The immediacy of the audience’s reaction, the dynamism of the medium and the ability to change ideas on the spot, was too tempting to resist after 20 years of animation where the frame-by-frame process can be like watching paint dry on a wet day. Similarly, watching the characters come to life before your very eyes made it easy to get hooked on puppetry,” he said.
For A Moon Safari, Lucas collaborated with renowned puppeteer Megan Cameron, who he met in 2007 whilst working on Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are.
“Megan is an astonishing puppeteer and we’ve been looking for an excuse to work together for a while. There are not so many opportunities to bring her kind of nuanced performance to a larger audience so I wrote a story that utilises her ability to subtly inhabit a character, while capturing the narrative ideas that interest me.”
Supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.