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Taking the stage

8th June 20

Y11 student, Erica wrote a wonderful description of what it’s like to take part in a KAS production – with our Phoenix Theatre silent due to lockdown it’s a great way to experience the thrill of a production through the eyes of one of our talented students.

“The process of the school production always makes me experience every emotion I believe exists. And as sweaty, chaotic, stressful and draining as the process is, the production is always the highlight of my year. Things take a surreal turn the day of the first rehearsal. Seeing all types of kids of a variety of age all in the same room, all there for the same reason. There are the regulars, new kids/ younger kids and the ones you would never expect to participate in a school musical. Yet as we all pile into the already uncomfortably warm drama studio, we’re a cast. Rob begins his concise, but warm welcome before Nell leads us in learning the first song. It sounds awful. Some people aren’t even singing. How could we possibly put together a full musical in 3 months. To this day, I believe that no one knows. The school production is like the maths challenge; no one knows how or why, yet it happens every year, and secretly the teachers really enjoy it.

The weekend rehearsals are always fun. You better make sure you have the dates imprinted into your head, if Rob so much as smells tardiness for the weekend rehearsal, you can kiss your chance of a lead is next year’s production goodbye. (in some cases this also applies to that current production…) there are always the kids that forgot to bring a packed lunch despite the 47 emails and constant reminders, yet thankfully for them, there are also the kids who bring way too much food but none of that matters anyway because the teachers ended up buying everyone pizza? (This is not a criticism) Lynne’s practically flying from cast member to cast member, frantically trying to find a perfect costume or two… or three that not only match the period, setting and characteristics of each individual character, but also meet the requirements of the cast member of whom the costume belongs with regard to fit, colour, size etc. Also, someone forgot to bring in their black shoes again. (god bless you Lynne) James is disappointed… but not surprised that no one can remember a single piece of choreography, same goes with Nell in terms of harmonies, meanwhile she also has to cater for the band who definitely didn’t realise what they had gotten themselves into. Lucy is usually hugging a crying cast member or two at this point.

Suddenly, its opening night. My time to shine as sick whore #2, and yet, I’ve never felt this important. The band starts the overture, backstage is a flurry of costumes, wide eyes and a series of hissed “Shut up!”. The same kind of vibe as that horror movie wherein if anyone made a noise they would instantly die.

And we’re on. The lights melting off the cakey layers of makeup smeared all over our faces, I can already feel tomorrow morning’s spots beginning to form but I have never felt more alive. The evening disappears into a blur of blood, sweat and tears. Someone makes a mistake, we all stand by them, someone fills in their line whilst we all continue. Absolutely no one is disappointed or upset with them apart from themselves, but the moment is soon made insignificant by the symphony of applause from the proud parents, friends and teachers. Hearts racing and hearts buzzing, we rush backstage to change as fast as possible so our loved ones can tell us how amazing we were. At least 12 people have definitely misplaced their costume by now. Backstage, the rest of the evening and the following day is just chatter and praise about the performance. Every critique, every comment, joke, praise and review solidifies the memory of last night’s performance. It was euphoric. And the best part was that we got to do it all over again tomorrow night.”

 

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