Sunday, 10 August 2014

The band

It's been a long old day today, which started with an al fresco knitting workshop with the female members of our cast. Ironically the only really decent knitter in the cast is one of the lads, and he was needed for a military boot call, so the session was led by the fabulous Emma Barry who plays the irrepressible Miss Grimsby in the show. Emma has only just herself learnt to knit, but seems to have one of those brains which makes her instantly some kind of knitting prodigy. The same thing seems to have happened with her tuba playing which went from zero to hero in the three months between rehearsal periods. She is also a very fine pianist and has perfect pitch... Sickening really!

We knitted whilst speed-running lines and when the boys returned, they were sent to the main hall to do line runs with our assistant director Josh. I always love sticking my head into a Josh session. There's always something weird and wonderful going on. Today the lads were all running lines whilst lying flat on their backs. Brilliant!

At noon, rehearsal started with the band, which feels like a really defining moment in the production. The players are universally very fine, which is a great relief. Firstly it means I don't need to re-score anything, and secondly, we don't have the issue of one of the players being weaker than the rest.

Some of them are extraordinarily good. The lead trumpet player in particular is insanely talented and his presence is really lifting the spirits (and the A games) of all the cast members.

The music is now drifting around the corridors. Members of the other NYMT casts sit outside and listen respectfully. There's a growing sense of something really quite extraordinary taking shape.

There was an amazing scene at tea time like something out of the Kids From Fame, when a whole host of musicians started jamming. Presently a load of singers and dancers appeared, and before long the room was full of people writhing about to the beat. If we'd auto-tuned the  output, we could have been in a scene from Glee. You watch talent show after talent show and yet, in that room today was a group of young people who would outstrip the talent base of this year's X Factor finalists in one sing-off. I felt rather like some kind of proud bohemian uncle at a party of hipsters. I'm sort of embracing that identity now. I can offer advice about relationships and careers in the arts, I can name drop, and bore them rigid with theatrical anecdotes whilst not giving two hoots that I haven't a clue what's happening in pop culture right now. It's a perfect blend! It is, however, too late for me to be awake, so I'm off to get some shut eye. And so to bed...

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