Saturday, 12 April 2014

Too many Bens. Too little time.

I was awoken at 5.30am this morning by the most astonishing dawn chorus. I should perhaps preface this story by reminding readers that I'm working in a public school in Kent, staying in a building which is usually inhabited by boarders. It's therefore maybe not such a surprise but still fairly extraordinary that the birds were all making the sounds of electronic alarm clocks! I kid you not! There were beeps, whistles and all manner of electronic sounds, all coming from birds. The only explanation I could  think of is that the birds have got rather used to the sound, every morning, of scores of alarms clocks simultaneously going off. I know that certain British birds are occasionally known to mimic sounds and can only assume that these particular creatures have found their way, in abundance, to Seven Oaks.

We've had another wonderful day, and have worked in astonishing detail on a number of aspects of our production. Sara continues to inspire the young people, enshrined in her little womb-like rehearsal room, which even I don't dare to enter very often. The actors emerge looking elated but absolutely washed-out. Today it was the turn of the girls to be Sarafied, whilst Ben Holder and I did loads and loads of music.

As the evening drew in, I worked on Billy Whistle, which is one of the set piece showstopper numbers in Brass. We gave the song an electrifying roof-raising rendition to finish things off, which actually made me shake with excitement. The joy about working with young people is that they don't whinge like older actors. When they're tired, they dig deeper. We're rehearsing twelve hour days but when they finish, they continue to work. It's quite amazing. But then again, they're here because they want to be here. They're here because they live for performing. I was the same at their age. If I could have done so I'd have played 'cello in ensembles 24/7, and never once complained, or invoked MU policies.

At the end of one session, as I left the space, I heard one of the actors saying, "wait a minute, lads, we're in a room with two pianos in it. Let's not waste it!" Ten minutes later I could still hear music and laughter floating from the room. I'm told they were also dancing. Isn't that just wonderful? These NYMT kids are special kids.

There's a bewildering number of Bens involved in Brass. Frankly, I have never felt so ordinary! Our lead actor is a Ben. Our MD is a Ben. Ditto our DSM. I hear the name being called across the rehearsal room so often that I've given up responding! It gets far too confusing.

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