Wednesday, 13 August 2014

I am the B

This morning started with ABBA. I love a day which starts with ABBA. Listening to ABBA is refreshing and invigorating. I practically skipped my way up the hill to rehearsals as a result, and kept finding myself doing little dances.

I've dipped in and out of all sorts of different rehearsals today and feel we're slowly getting there, although the cast is now at a stage where new information takes a considerable amount longer to filter through their addled, muddled brains. Their minds are now officially full to the brim with conflicting directions, dance steps, harmonies, costume requirements, rewrites, cuts... They'll get there, they really will, but it will require one final push.

The band are slowly coming together. We have assembled some awesome players. We still need to finesse - and I still need to thin out some of the orchestrations, but we're heading in a rather impressive direction.

Today I came back from lunch and found a mixture of band and cast members jamming with Matt Flint in the rehearsal room. Matt was wearing his tap shoes and was having a "tap-off" with the drummer... It's these moments which genuinely make me feel that the experience of Brass is unlike any other and will hopefully remain in these young peoples' heads and hearts for the rest of their lives.

It's rather nice to be able to drift about a bit. I did a one-on-one session with Tom Ramsey, who plays  Harry in the show, and I think he made wonderful progress with his song.

The key to the success of Brass lies within the show's humour. The more opportunities the cast can find to smile and laugh, the more universal and powerful their performances become. The utterly luminous Rosie Archer, who plays the role of Emmie, dies with a huge smile on her face, which makes her death somehow so much more upsetting.

Every year the NYMT runs a summer school for Swedish musical theatre students, so we're now sharing the school with hundreds of blonde-haired, rather tall creatures. We have our very own Swede in the cast, Sandra Kassman, who is resolutely refusing to speak to her fellow country men. I would be the same. I would feel somehow like they were invading my patch, as indeed I felt when, a hundred years ago, I did a second year with the National Student Theatre Company, only to find five people from my university suddenly in the show I was working on. Much as it was nice to have them there, the NSTC was MY thing. MY little secret...

Anyway, much mirth has been caused by Sandra asking some of the Swedes to teach her a phrase in Swedish, which she has been repeating back to them deliberately badly in the hope she can somehow convince them that she's become fluent in Swedish in the space of two days! I logo forward to seeing the results of her deception.

I'm told all the Swedes want to do is sing ABBA songs. Clearly they have taste.

I uttered a terrible malapropism today when I told Ben and Josef about the time I worked as the acting coach on 28 Weeks Later. In one particular scene I was working with a 12 year-old lad, and in order to get him to gasp convincingly and on queue when his father appeared for the first time as an infected zombie, I stood underneath him and performed the Heimlich manoeuvre.  Unfortunately I managed to get to the nub of the story, but instead of talking about the Heimlich manoeuvre, managed to say that I'd given the young lad the "Hymen" manoeuvre! What the hell am I going to be like as an old man?!

It's clearly time for me to phone my husband to say goodnight and get some shut eye myself. Sleep well, everyone... Or, more appropriately, have a lovely breakfast!

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