Wednesday, 28 March 2012

PHEW! Lights out, curtains fall, shows over

You feel it in your feet really. They really, really ache! Over the weekend we did eight shows – four full dress/technical and four shows of ‘Imagine’ to audience – with four different sets of children. We must be mad!

Well, we’re tired certainly, but the energy of the children keeps you going and seeing four sets of excited and fulfilled faces as they greet their parents in the foyer afterwards makes it all worthwhile. Check out the photos on our Facebook page.

But what really goes on literally ‘behind the scenes’...?

The real key is organisation. Unusually this show did not have huge costume and prop requirements which definitely made things easier. But before we arrive at the theatre we try and think of all contingencies and make sure we are ready for them.  

Parents who have seen our rehearsals and those who work with us backstage (our heroes!) often remark on just how calm and controlled we seem. To be honest, we are. We don’t see the point in getting stressed over performances. We want the children to enjoy themselves and shouting or pushing too hard just turns it into an ordeal. We believe ‘you get what you get’ and 99 times out of 100 the end result is much better than you ever thought/feared. The children are given every chance to learn lines and get things right in rehearsal so getting worked up on the day of a show doesn’t work for anyone. And let’s be honest, it’s not their fault if something isn’t working, it’s ours as Directors/teachers. So keeping a smile on our face and a relaxed attitude is absolutely vital to our whole approach.

Hopefully the audience sees a smooth transition from scene to scene with children moving on and off stage with professional efficiency. But backstage there are groups of children being shepherded from dressing room (classroom at the end of a long corridor that is), to wings, to stage and back again with ‘unhurried alacrity’. A pre-prepared and accurate call sheet really helps for this – we didn’t have one this time so we were flying by the seat of our pants.

“What’s next?” is the most common question from little ones. The wrong answer is ‘Surely you should know!” The actual answer was, this weekend, “We don’t know – we don’t have a script!” This made for some interesting last minute GET GREEN GROUP cries.

Despite the lack of call sheet or script, though, we got through everything with only a couple of bewildered little ones appearing mid way through a scene having been in the loo - or just daydreaming.

The shows themselves were very different for us with some quite thought-provoking and dark scenes – not our usual laugh-a-minute (or occasional guffaw if I’m lucky) kind of musical. But we think it was well worth the experiment. Telling a story is the essence of all drama and that’s precisely what the casts had to do – as a team.

And they did it very well indeed.

We’re proud of them. But then again, aren’t we always?

Now the challenge of what to do next year...