That Was The Week That Was
Rather sadly, this week signalled the end of Little Shop of Horrors, the school musical with which I’ve been involved since rehearsals began in October. I played Orin, the sadist dentist, and despite having few lines and only a couple of songs, I’ve been delighted with the number of ‘well done’ messages I’ve had since the curtain went down on Monday night (the first of four performances in our new Drama Studio). In fact, it’s felt rather fraudulent: many members of the cast have received far less praise, yet have actually worked harder towards the show.
The main news of the week was that Fabio Capello resigned as England manager, and that the American singer Whitney Houston died in a hotel room in Los Angeles. Like after the death of Michael Jackson, news of this latter event spread quite quickly, and within hours of the announcement being made, Twitter was abuzz with ‘RIP’-related tweets (as Phil Bray summarised).
Read about the rehearsal process here.
Twenty songs, six months of rehearsals, and four performances to the paying public came to an end this evening, as my fellow Little Shop of Horrors cast members and I bowed out. Tonight’s show broke with tradition for last-night affairs, as we stuck pretty closely to the script (probably more so than any other night of LSoH, in fact). Tonight’s audience were really very warm – the best of all four – and seemed to immensely enjoy the entire show.
After headteacher Ms White made a short speech, we sang the theme chorus one last time before making our way into the adjacent Dance Studio (our green room for every night of the production) where we as a cast presented the teachers who’d made it happen with gifts and cards.
Within minutes of the last note being sung, cables were being thrown around, gaffer tape was being torn up, and the seats were being stacked. The stage management team on this show are one of the best I’ve ever worked with – efficient, hard-working, and (as ever) all for virtually no praise.
But how’s this for a great end to a great show? As we hung up our costumes for the last times, snow was falling outside, making for a beautiful walk to Tilly’s house for the after-show party.
All agreed that it’s sad Little Shop has come to an end, knowing – despite best intentions – it’s unlikely we’ll ever be as close to each other as we have been over the last couple of weeks. My thanks, of course, go to my fellow cast members, the crew, the band, and the front-of-house staff who, with the musical and dramatic direction of Mrs Armstrong, Miss Watson, Mrs Bradley, and Miss Satterthwaite, have contributed to the high success of our show.
A longer piece on my thoughts of the end of Little Shop of Horrors will be published in the next edition of the school magazine.
Shortly before the curtain-call for Furze Platt’s production of Little Shop of Horrors before half-term, cast member Andrew Burdett described the experience of playing Orin.
Here in the school Dance Studio (acting as a green room for this production) there’s a hushed excitement as my fellow cast members prepare to perform each of the scenes they’re in for the last time. For me, it’s already almost over: I’ve sung my last note as Orin (the sadist dentist) and ‘died’ for the very last time (now there’s a phrase you don’t often read). Aside from the curtain-call, strike, and after-show party, six months of preparations for Little Shop of Horrors have come to an end.
Musicals are great fun to be involved with: there’s so much to do, especially in the last days of the rehearsals, that there’s always a great collaborative feeling as everyone and everything finally comes together. It’s not just the acting and singing. There’s lights to wire in, microphones to set up, and musical instruments to tune.
There’s genuinely no feeling quite like that of when one takes one’s final bow. It’s partly a feeling of relief (a delight that the audience enjoyed it, after all of the rehearsals), but there’s also quite a strong sense of sadness (it’s the end of a great show, something we’ve worked on for months). I remember fondly when I was the lead in HONK! (the 2010 lower-school musical). The audience were on their feet, cheering loudly as I walked proudly on stage for the last time. No doubt Mark, Tilly, and Ryan (Seymour, Audrey, and Mushnik respectively) will have a similar reception shortly, as will the rest of the cast and crew.