Theatre Stories: Volume 1

I actually wrote this a year ago. It was supposed to be part of another post I was writing, but when that post ended up too long, I split it up. And what remains, is a story. Theatre Story No. 1.

The theatre is a wonderful place. We go to escape, to have fun, to enjoy, to learn, to blow off steam – and I believe all of those are applicable either side of the curtain. Seeing a performance can be a magical experience; it can take you away from the rain outside, or your crappy day at work, from sad times or stressful times.
Though, as I’ve pointed out previously, things don’t always go perfectly, which is why I always find it so enjoyable when someone tells me a story of something going wrong. Not to sneer at the misfortune of others *cue MT lovers singing Avenue Q’s ‘Schadenfraude’*, but rather because things technically SHOULDN’T go wrong (because of the amount of rehearsal). So when they do, it’s rare. It’s funny. And I’ve been involved in so many myself, it’s also good to know you’re not alone! I’ll give you an example:

Throwback to 13 months ago, and HSAP’s Legally Blonde, at Harrogate Theatre. It’s opening night and the start of Act 2.

Now, in this production, we had a gauze (a mesh curtain, which usually has some kind of logo/artwork on it). When the stage is lit, it’s transparent, you can see set/actors behind it. When it’s not lit, it’s more translucent – you can’t see through it clearly, but shapes of people are still visible. The opening of Act 2 in Legally Blonde is ‘Whipped Into Shape’, and we were pre-set behind the gauze. Now, because of it’s transparent/translucent nature, as soon as you’re pre-set behind it, there’s no going back. No moving.
On opening night, some wires got crossed somewhere – we got told to pre-set, then AFTER this call, it turned out that there were still some audience members in the bathroom.
So picture this. The 10 of us stood in our pre-set positions. And bearing in mind the beginning of the song is a workout video, we weren’t just ‘stood’. Oh no. We were in various hench work out positions (lunges, squats etc), and, as I’m sure you have either experienced or can imagine, not the most enjoyable thing to hold for an extended amount of time.

But of course, we had to hold it. No going back seeing as it was a gauze rather than a curtain! How long did we hold it for? More than a couple of minutes, I can tell you that. I could see the other girls out of the corner of my eye, shaking, from holding the position for so long, slowly (so as not to be seen by the audience) trying to stretch their legs or bend their arms because of cramp.

The following night, a member of the stage crew confirmed that we were stood there for 7 minutes. 7. MINUTES. I’ve never held a lunge for so long in my life. And don’t plan on doing it ever again.

Moral of that story? Always triple check with the person on the book (the superstar that calls the whole show, sits with headphone on and tells everyone what to do), that you can pre-set on stage. Which I did for the rest of the run. And probably became quite annoying. Sorry Liz. But as much as I love a good lunge or squat, I wasn’t prepared to hold it for 5 minutes in front if hundreds of people every night that week. Mind you, it’d have probably been quite good for me 🍑

Theatre Stories, Volume 1 – done.

Lynette x (3)

10 Things You Don’t Miss About Show Week…

Whilst any and every show week is amazing fun, of course there are going to be SOME negatives (as I guess there are with many things in life). Not major things, just teeny details here and there that you don’t miss now it’s over. I’ll give you some Rock Of Ages examples:

  • Having nightmares about missing an entrance.
    Mainly those following a mega mega quick change.
  • The stairs.
    I’m sorry Harrogate Theatre, I love you, and it probably did WONDERS for our backsides – but the AMOUNT of stairs backstage is crazy. And not fun, particularly when you have to do a quick run around from one side of the stage to the other. Anyone else trip up/down stairs at least once that week? 🙋‍♀️
  • Dancing in your head when you should be sleeping.
    Which can be rather counter productive, when you need to be sleeping more from all the energy you’ve been using. Dancing. 

Photo Credit: Bob McLennan

  • Being scared of sliding off the stage into someone’s lap.
    Harrogate Theatre’s stage has a very steep rake, and the Rock of Ages band wasn’t in the pit as usual, they were on stage with us… So, no band in the pit = if I slide/pirouette off, I’m sliding right into the lap of this person in front of me. I’m not kidding, there was maybe a meter between us, which in a small theatre, you’d expect, but it was a weird feeling in a bigger theatre…
  • Mic tape that doesn’t stick because of the sweat.
    I don’t think this one needs any explaining…
  • (Another mic related one)… Having to untie your boyfriend’s mic belt.
    Yeh. Picture it now. A thin piece of fabric belt, twisted round itself, horribly knotted, and nice and sweaty. Can’t say it was my favourite part of the evening…
  • Finding glitter still on random parts of your body days after the last show.
    It just gets everywhere. Even if it’s not on you, you’ve washed all of it off…if it’s on a piece of clothing, bag, shoes – it WILL find it’s way back onto your skin.

Photo Credit: Bob McLennan

  • Sky high anxiety levels about falling off a rickety chair.
    Because I nearly stacked it in the dress rehearsal, I had a mini heart attack.
  • The pressure of remembering to take off the suitcase, so the pyro (fireworks) goes off.
    Yes. Who’s job was it? And who forgot on opening night? 🙈 I held my hands up of course, and for fear of my fate if I forgot again, made sure I always took it off.
  • Having to ‘under dress’ costumes for quick changes, meaning you end up with about 4 layers on at once.
    Which to dance in, feels like 👇


There are definitely more, but I’ll save those for another time…
Feel free to like if you can relate, or comment with any more that you’ve experienced… I love hearing little stories like this 😊

Lynette x (3)

ETC’s Jesus Christ Superstar – Review

I know I’ve spoken in previous blog posts about how when I’m watching a show, I find it very hard not to find fault. This weekend I watched Encore Theatre Company’s Jesus Christ Superstar, and whilst I don’t retract my original statement, I’m going to amend it. Having spent so many years on the stage myself, I know it’s very rare to have NOTHING go wrong in a show. Whether it’s you yourself that messes up, a cast member, a bit of costume that falls off, a forgotten prop, problematic set changes that take too long, a bum note from the band…there are many. So I get it, things aren’t always perfect, I think I’ve only come off stage at the end of a show ONCE in my life and gone ‘Yes. That was it. It couldn’t have gone any better.’ But sometimes, a production is SO good, you’re able to overlook those couple of weaker points in a show. JCS was one of those rare times. 18921925_760864400758836_5051103262799856063_n

Even though it’s an amateur company, it really was airing on the side of professional, and I’m not the only one to think it; I heard many comments from other audience members as we left, about how professional it was. From the overall show down to the ushers. The set and lights alone got you talking when you entered the theatre. D3AAC68D-1565-47CA-89FE-6FA8EEB77657

JCS is a one of those shows that’s completely open to interpretation, and the few versions I’ve seen have been completely different. This take had a bohemian rock kinda thing going on and personally, I loved it. It totally suited the performers and the choices they made (vocally and physically) and it was a really refreshing way of seeing it done.

The lighting was done beautifully (I’ve always been a sucker for good tech), in a way that completely suited the style of the show. It was obvious that there’d been lots of discussions between all members of the creative team to ensure all understood the director’s vision, and that understanding really just finished it off nicely. JCS

A shoutout HAS to go to my 3 favourite performances. To Ed Leigh as Jesus, Dale Vaughan as Judas, and Paul Forsberg as Pontius Pilate. There were some stand out performances from the entire cast, Sarah Clarkson was giving LIFE as Mary Magdalene and the beautiful tenor tones of Michael Frith created the strongest Annas I’ve seen live. But for me, those 3 were stand out performances. All 3 committed 110%, made the character their own, and portrayed them in a new and beautifully accurate way. Although I may be biased, there’s no denying Ed Leigh stole the show with a powerful and heartbreaking performance of Jesus. I wasn’t the only one sobbing. 18839123_760864317425511_4893897716775083855_n

Sending my congratulations to the entire Encore team, that was a knock out show.

Lynette x

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(Photo Credit: Nicole Walton Photography)