Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Well, that went... somewhat chaotically!!  I have a couple of performances of this role (hopefully more, although given the state of the theatre's finances, not something I am relying upon.

Anyway, I was looking forward to yesterday's first one.  I'd sung most of the rehearsal period, was thrilled to be able to get (mostly) into the same clothes as my colleague who was originally booked for the role (her legs are about double the length of mine and she's tall, slim and beautiful) and knew that if I just barrelled on with a champagne glass in hand, nothing could go wrong.

Which it didn't, it really didn't, until the Act II Finale, when I am meant to be starting my own rather riotous party, in this case being wheeled speedily along by my erstwhile lover in a wheelbarrow, legs up in the air, bottle in hand, whooping.  The idea was that I would end up in a particular place at a particular angle, so that I could step out, in contact with the conductor, and sing the introductory phrases.  

Well, I knew it was always going to be an interesting ride, given this particular colleague, and had come to giggling grief in a couple of rehearsals, but they'd changed the wheelbarrow AGAIN, and somehow my colleague got a little overexcited and managed to tip me out with a resounding thump, face-down on the stage, totally disorientated... it's hard to get the music precisely right when you're laughing so much!

It's also hard to negotiate tricky passages in the role when they are meant to be accompanied by ladies of the chorus, flocking around one's stage lover, being flicked expertly off by either a look or a stage tap on the shoulder.  Not this time.  Oh no.  Whether by accident or design, the first lady I signalled off with an imperious gesture simply stood her ground and stared back at me.  I restrained my immediate impulse to thump her and set about extracting my "lover" by force.  Which, at a point where breathing is at a premium and contact with the conductor essential, DIDN'T HELP.

Nor did hunting haplessly around for the black velvet jacket I had earlier twirled off.  It was meant to be "at the front of the stage, at the side", according to the assistant director's instructions, thrown there by someone from the chorus.  New thing since the dress rehearsal.  Fine.  Except they obviously hadn't thought that if such a garment lands in the wrong place, it's virtually impossible to see...

Ah bliss.  I love the theatre!

PS going for the most inappropriate photo vis-à-vis content ever.  That was the view as I cycled along the Rhine on the day before the performance.  Ghostly in the freezing fog, the as-yet-untrimmed pollarded plane trees seem to melt into the mist...

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