10 students from Sydney Con are embarking on a 2 month internship with Hayes Theatre Company this week to perform in their production of A Little Night Music as the Quintet/Liebeslieder. I'm hoping to get more insight into how a professional production runs, receive mentorship from people who have been working in the industry for a few years and become a more versatile performer by adding some musical theatre to my resume!
Week One 18.09.23 — 24.09.23
I was a bit apprehensive about our first day. From what I had heard, it seemed that the process would be quite stressful and that the expectations of us would be really high. I was quite relieved to find that everyone was really relaxed and patient, but still maintained high standards which was great.
I’ve been doing my best for the past few days to get my music off book which has been going alright, but I’m worried that I won’t be able to memorise enough before staging starts on Thursday.
It was great to meet the main cast and get into it!
Today was really fun. We got to sing through all of act one which was great and we played a little bit with the tone colours in Weekend. Yesterday the principals were mostly note bashing Weekend in the Country, and it was really interesting to see that most of them had it basically learned today. It was a really quick turn around and really helped me understand what kind of work I needed to be doing at home. I'm much more used to the approach of coming in already having learned your music and being off book before rehearsals even start so this was a welcome change.
I think our ensemble is blending a lot better now, and overall is much cohesive. Andy had us experimenting with straight tone in some parts which was fun — I find straight tone pretty easy so it was fun to be flipping between the two. I did much better with memorising my music today — my memory for weekend in the country was almost perfect and I feel pretty confident with most of Act 1. We’re arriving a little earlier tomorrow to go over some of the trickier parts before we do a full read/sing through of the show at 10am. I think it will be a great day, and a good chance to test my memory.
Today was our first full read/sing through of the show. I’m constantly impressed by how well the principal cast already seem to know their characters and how they’re already making character and acting choices. Its amazing to see the show start pulling together so quickly as well — on monday it was clear that the score was quite fresh and new to some of us, but the cast really seems to know their parts now which is quite exciting! I’m keen to start staging tomorrow — I really struggle with blocking sometimes so i’m exciting to give it a go and get a bit more confident with taking notes on staging.
Today was really exciting! We did a lot of blocking this morning on The Glamorous Life. I find it hard to remember all of the blocking on the go but I think I did a good job today. There is a second which requires really specific movement — stepping on certain feel and turning towards specific shoulders which I really struggled with, but I’ve had a practice at home this afternoon and am feeling much more confident with it now. Shannon has been talking about helping us find our characters and our physicality which I’m excited for. Prior to rehearsals we were told that our characters were meant to be snooty middle aged performers who acted as a kind of greek chorus, but now Dean has told us that we’re acting our own age, but also as the inner thoughts of the main characters which is going to be harder to develop a character around, but I think makes a lot of sense in the context of the musical.
Today we had a short music call today to prepare remember, but we ended up going over the overture again. It was actually really great to get all the notes sorted out and all of the harmonies were sounding much cleaner. Coming from a classical background I’m really unfamiliar with the music calls — I much prefer to note bash and learn my notes at home, and my work with St James this year has really helped to improve my sight singing, so in our first few days I found myself getting really frustrated at music calls because I didn’t understand why we needed them. I’m understanding now that it’s much more a practice of musical theatre than opera which makes more sense to me. I think the hardest part of this internship for me will be learning the differences in these two styles of performance and the nuances in the rehearsal process which sets them apart. I’m a strong believer in being a diverse performer and being able to perform in multiple styles, and I really believe that this internship will help me with that.
Today we re-blocked Glamorous Life and the Remember scenes. I was a bit disappointed to redo Glamorous Life — I spent time practicing what we had blocked to have it ready for today but I understand the need to be flexible. Mostly I was disappointed that we would have a less active role to play in the musical. On day one they told us that we would mostly be considered part of the band or in a similar role to them and the previous blocking of Glamorous Life made it seem as though that wouldn’t be the case. But today they seemed to return to that idea and we were put back behind the glass and told basically to do what we had done before but in one spot behind the glass. I understand the thinking of this, and in the broader context of the musical it makes a lot of sense to me, but I know I’m going to have to adjust my expectations of my role in the production and what will be expected of the Liebeslieders.