Backstage at "How to Train Your Dragon"
It's been called one of the most elaborate productions ever, and YNN's Vince Gallagher got a sneak peak on the current world tour of "How to Train Your Dragon".
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- "How to Train Your Dragon" is a story that takes place in a mythical viking world. But, in addition to the plot, it is also quite an achievement to be able to bring this story to the stage. The equipment requires a total of 31 trucks.
"We carry those around from city to city. It takes almost about thirty hours actually erected," explained Dan McGee, Tour Manager.
Creating the dragons is a major project. There are 23 flying, smoke-breathing creatures, with some of them weighing as much as 2.6 tons.
"Our largest one, Red Death, is actually about 40 feet long, and is as large as a blue whale," said McGee.
YNN also got a chance to meet the cast, which includes a friendly dragon names Toothless. And in order to bring him to life, he has his own driver.
"I have a joystick inside and I move him around the floor, so I control his walk cycle, when he walks, when he bounds, and getting him from point A to point B on the floor," explained Nicholas Synder, Toothless driver.
When it comes to the actual dragon movements, nothing is done by computer programming. The arms and limbs are all done live.
"This is a coordination of four different people that are controlling this, so you know, it's amazing how they, and the coordination come together, and create something that is almost a personality," noted Rarmian Newton, cast member.
Gavin Sainsbury, head puppeteer, explained, "The head left and right, up and down, the head rotate, then into the neck. So I can take control of all that."
There's also an auxiliary station that creates the dragon's sound. "How to Train Your Dragon" follows the story of Hiccup, a young man who doesn't quite fit in. In a world where dragons are the enemy, he actually develops a friendship with them. So amidst all of the production, this is also a morality tale.
"It's a very touching story on many levels where it views friendship and love, his relationship with his father, his relationship with the village, and coming of age. It's magnificent for all ages," explained Will Watkins, cast member.
If you would like to witness this technical achievement, "How to Train Your Dragon" will be at the IZOD Center through September 30.