Musical Theatre involves triple threat performers. Being able to sing, dance and act - at the same time - takes enormous skill. And rehearsals are time consuming, exacting processes - or you can do what the people behind the 24 Musical Project are doing and attempt to do the lot in 24 hours. That's right. From the time the choice of musical is announced, the roles are allocated and the rehearsals for musicians and performers start to the time the curtain goes up it is exactly 24 hours. It's crazily ambitious but there is proof it can be done. This is Brisbane's third musical (Kiss Me Kate last year and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella in 2016) and the model was adopted from overseas.
Of course, while the rehearsal process takes 24 hours there is an extensive lead up. Auditions are held, scripts are marked up, logistics sorted, supplies sourced and a whole lot of fibs and misdirections are told to keep the reveal top secret. Producer Miranda Selwood said to ensure no-one accidentally leaked and to deflect nosy questions, everyone in the inner sanctum agreed to say the production would be Cats. There were also a few strategic red herrings included in the packing instructions. Ten days before before show day, a short list of 10 shows was released. Each day one show was dropped. And then at 5pm the whole cast gathered in the auditorium and the roar went up when The Witches of Eastwick was announced as the show and the role selections were announced. Fast forward almost seven hours, we returned to the venue at Stuartholme College for a progress report. It was coming up to break time. Performers were emerging from rehearsal rooms around the campus - from costuming, dancing, singing and orchestra rehearsals. On the stage, the set was beginning to take shape. As some headed for the showers or to change into PJs (for the night shift not for sleep) the small team of caterers sprang into action. Great vats of pumpkin soup materialised as well as flasks of coffee, nuts, chips and lollies and fruit were on hand. An army marches on its stomach and so, it seems, do musical theatre performers. Indeed, Miranda says when the performers from previous years were surveyed, food was right up there with the things they really enjoyed. But experience from previous years also suggests that no amount of pumpkin soup will ease the pain that is about to come. About 2am is when the first round of panic and fatigue sets in. There may be tears. That too will pass. Like childbirth, people obviously forget because a large number of participants are back for a third time.
It's the challenge, it's the companionship, it's the fun and sense of achievement. The results? Well, time will tell. Not much time but time.
You can hear more of our interview with Miranda here.
|Producer Miranda Selwood|