Once More With Bunnies is described as a “shadowcast of all things Whedonverse” on their Facebook fan page.
The group was started by Rhianna Webb, 21, England, who wanted LeakyCon 2014 to be their first performance.
“I was interested in putting forward programming and have always been involved with theatre,” Webb said in an email. “Both of those things coupled with the ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ kick I had been on for the previous few months led me to wonder whether anyone had ever made a stage show of the ‘Once More With Feeling’ episode, so I searched on YouTube and found both live stage versions and shadowcast performances from Dragon Con.
“I decided if there were people out there doing this kind of stuff already then I could do it too.”
With a second show at GeekyCon 2015, the group was noticed by Angela Hammond, who runs CONjuration. CONjuration is a fan convention focusing on “magical fantasy” held in Atlanta, Georgia, according to its website.
“The woman who runs it, Angela, came to see us at GeekyCon,” said Anna Sobolov Good, 25, Arizona, during a phone interview. “Ferrell [Lamothe] posted ‘what was your favorite Geeky thing’ [on Facebook] and Angela commented on the thread asking if they wanted to go to another convention.”
While the cast accepted the invitation to the convention, being spread across the globe means there are some casting shake-ups. Webb is one such member who will not be attending.
“Currently casting is still in progresses and could fluctuate between now and CONjuration,” Webb said. “However I am happy to say that currently Anna Sobolov Good, who has been playing Buffy since our original performance at Leakycon 2014, will be reprising the role of Buffy.”
Chelsea MacKay, 20, Canada, choreographed the show at Geekycon and played the role of Anya.
“The four directors (Myself, Anna, Rhianna and Mary Jane, who did our fight choreo) would talk and discuss our goals for a scene and plans for it. Then I would block the scene at home,” MacKay said via email. “Scenes with fewer people and/or a lot of dancing were done by rounding up friends and partners and teaching them each one of the roles.
“Larger scenes were done with figurines on a small model of the stage. Then it was filmed.”
After any adjustments, the choreographed scenes were sent to the actors, MacKay said.
Much of the rehearsal for the show is down to the actual actors, with the way the cast is so spread out.
“Most blocking and scene work is done over the internet with only a few days of in-person practice,” said Kelly Litchford, 20, Virginia, via email. “This means that a lot is riding on the ability of each individual cast member to work on their choreography lines and lyrics on their own time.”
Manja Netter, 36, Southeast Ireland, will have a long trek to make it to CONjuration, but is excited to move from an extra to the role of Giles.
“Being able to play Giles is going to be such a challenge for me,” Netter said via email. “I’m enjoying practicing his body language, which is very different from my own.”
Overall, the group is excited to expand their show to a new convention.
“I’m hoping for a great bonding experience with my fellow Once More With Bunnies castmates, a great audience reaction to our show and that same rewarding feeling,” said Harley Ann Kulp, 18, New York in an email. “I can’t wait to perform again!”
Once More With Bunnies is currently scheduled to perform from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Great Hall on Saturday, November 14.