There’s rather more theatre in this musical theatre lark than I quite anticipated. Maybe it just feels like that because we are improvising, so there’s a lot being tried out that won’t get into the final product.
We reviewed our memory of what we were doing with Under Pressure and our scene on the train station, and Lee has taken on my suggestion that the two note refrain sounds like an announcement is about to be made, and there is now a twenty-minute delay announced before we start singing. We have established that it’s a cold day and the roof over the platform leaks, and that one of our number has a double buggy. Lee is going to find us a sound effect for oyster card reader, and some of us are going to have paper coffee cups. (Something for Jonathon to sweep up – he now has an actual big broom courtesy of whoever left it leaning against the wall.)
We have a new song: a mash-up of Money, Money, Money (Abba) and I Hope I Get It (A Chorus Line). Lee has given us nice simple arrangements, but even so I’m struggling with getting the pitch right… ’tis a curse not reading music confidently… it’ll come right in the end!
So now we have a new scene where we are all out of work actors at an audition. Once more in groups, we improvise that there is some negative history between two of the company. we have to say whether the scene comes before or after the song.
What we get is:
Two rather histrionic male/female bust ups, one referring to ‘it was in the papers, you know it was, you know what he did to me!’ which sounded deliciously scandalous, the other more of a messy divorce scenario, which included some very witty actorly stretches.
My group did a take on All About Eve, with me in Joan Crawford mode snarling at the bright young thing who got MY part last time, and shouldn’t she be on the way to Hollywood by now darling, instead of slumming it with us? The rest of them ganged up on me magnificently and we had a lot of fun, but a tad OTT. Ought to segue into Anything You Can Do, but we’d decided it was before the song so that’s not going to happen!
And two rather good, quiet takes – one making use of the words of the song, to be interior dialogue, and just an appalled look and a turning away as the pair in conflict clap eyes on each other; and the other when one of the producers recognises one of the actors as he is asked for his name, and they both say it together, then she turns away in horror. I liked this one particularly.
Its getting interesting, we’ve been asked to come up with more scenarios for big ensemble pieces…
© Cherry Potts 2012