Thursday, 22 September 2016

Talking too loud

A very posh woman was talking incredibly loudly in Costa Coffee this morning. I couldn't see her, but I could hear every word she shouted. She was telling her friend (and the rest of the cafe) about the improvements she was having done on her house. Very loudly. Her home was obviously larger than it's possible to comprehend and she wanted us all to know about it. I'm afraid I found myself assuming that it wasn't her personally who'd paid for this enormous house and its phenomenally expensive alterations. I'm pretty sure a wealthy husband or a doting father would have played his part. And if that's misogynistic of me, then she shouldn't have been talking so loudly!

I have been working on a two minute fanfare to kick off the National Youth Music Theatre's West End Gala at the Adelphi Theatre at end of next month. I've been asked to use themes from Brass, so I'm quoting Billy Whistle, When You're A Pal, The Last Post and Reveille. I've done a first pass, but just need to let it sit and breathe for a while. Obviously it needs to have impact and a sense of occasion, but I'm equally aware of my slight tendency to, as Nathan puts it, "never knowingly underscore..."

This afternoon I worked on a new song from Em. I'm experimenting with reconstituting the chorus from another song in the show and allowing it to appear as in a very different musical setting. Andrew Lloyd Webber did something similar with Oh What A Circus and Don't Cry For Me Argentina. It's a quite useful device because it means an audience is more likely to leave the theatre humming a tune - and this seems to be one of the most important factors people use when judging the success of a musical. One of the big problems with new musicals is that people only tend to see a show once. Reviewers particularly will tend to predict that a show's melodies won't last the test of time purely because they're hearing stuff for the first time. In the case of Brass, particularly when it came to the re-written version, I used scores of leitmotivs; little two and four bar melodies which cropped up all over the place. Some of these tunes had significance. There was a death theme, for example, which the audience hears for the first time in the Prologue, when Bickerdike convinces Morrie to lie about his age in order to sign up. It's a fairly upbeat, innocuous scene, but the decision Morrie makes at that moment will ultimately lead to his death. I quite like the fact that the underscore at this point foreshadows this.

This evening we went into central London to finally book our amazing holiday to the States next summer. We've paid our deposit. It's all happening. Very exciting. I'm not sure I've ever had something in my diary that far in advance. I found myself wondering what will be happening in our lives in eleven months' time. What projects will have happened by then? What world events will have shocked us all? And most crucially, will I be fat or thin!?

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