Read on to see exclusive behind-the-scenes video footage of Furze Platt’s Harlem Shake clip, plus photos from this year’s Guys & Dolls school musical production.
Inspired, perhaps, by the coalition government’s recent progress update, I’ve decided to do my very own little ‘mid-term review’ of my time in Year 12 at Furze Platt Senior School’s Sixth Form. Including inset days, weekends, and the two holiday breaks so far, it’s 164 days since I walked through the school gates in my then-new suit for the first time.
Today marked the end of the third term of six of the 2012/13 academic year.
It’s a term that, frankly, I’m glad to see the back of. Beginning with the stress of January exams, it concluded with the pressure of coursework deadlines and an ever-present struggle to ‘get everything done’.
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.
A week tonight, the audience will applaud Furze Platt’s performance of Little Shop of Horrors for the last time; we’ll strike the set; and if we’re all not too tired, somebody will host an after-show party. This is the first time the Music and Drama departments have come together since the opening of the new arts facilities at school in October, and this show makes full use of the technical advantages of our state-of-the-art studio theatre.
Rehearsals for this year’s school musical are now entering the final few days, and unlike last year when I worked with the technical team, I’m up on stage this time as Orin (the sadist dentist). It’s a fairly minor role – I made it clear from the very beginning that I didn’t have the time for the lead – but it’s easily the most entertaining character in the musical, thanks to his morbid, self-professed “fascination with human pain and suffering”, the way he so badly treats Audrey (his supposed girlfriend), and the quite spectacular way he dies. Having a more modest part has meant I haven’t had to attend as many rehearsals as Tilly and Mark (Audrey and Seymour respectively), nor have I had anything like the number of songs to learn as the chorus, but ultimately it’s allowed me to be part of the show without it impacting too greatly on my other work and social commitments.
For those who don’t know the show, it began as The Little Shop of Horrors, a 1960 American comedy film, before it was adapted to a stage musical in 1982. Less than five years later, it morphed once more, this time into a film adaptation of the stage musical. Without wanting to give away any spoilers, it’s a hilarious story. Seymour, a nerd and orphan, is given a job by the owner of the self-named ‘Mushnik’s Skid Row Florists’, in a downtown American city. Seymour works alongside the beautiful Audrey, who he dreams of. Audrey herself dreams of one day having “Somewhere That’s Green” and living with “a sweet little guy like Seymour” – a world apart from the life she currently leads: living in run-down Skid Row and dating Orin. Seymour buys a plant (which he names Audrey II after the subject of his crush), which (in addition to the usual requirement of CO2 and H2O), also needs Hb (blood).
To find out who becomes plant food first, you’ll have to come along and watch!
Little Shop of Horrors runs from Monday 6 February to Thursday 9 February 2012. Tickets are available to buy from the school office.