Immersed in a gruelling, yet rewarding production week since Sunday 24 September, our cast and crew have spent every night in the Arts Theatre, and it has tested our mental, physical, and emotional states.
The days leading up to opening night were filled with anxiety, excitement, and a lot of problem-solving, particularly with regards to the technical aspects of our show. I am so proud of our creatives and crew who have achieved so much in the span of a three-day technical preparation period.
David Sinclair’s set design, as well as his and Linda Williams’ calming, nurturing direction, Jason Grove’s beautiful lighting design, Petra Taylor running a tight ship as Assistant Production Manager, Peter Johns keeping the orchestra and singers in check, and Tim Bates leading the march as Stage Manager are but a few of the magical team who made this production great. There are so many people who have shared their talents to make our first five shows a remarkable experience.
The audience reception and feedback from theatre critics have been phenomenal, and I feel so extremely blessed to be part of this show. My heart is content with every beat when I am on stage with this cast. The chorus songs are especially gratifying as I revel in the symbiosis of our company, and experience the fragility of our humanity.
We have had full houses and standing ovations for every performance; this alone has been a gift. The demand for tickets in this sold-out season has been amazing. People have been posting call-outs on social media, and lining up outside the theatre in anticipation of anyone who does not show up, leaving no doubt about how well-loved and in-demand this musical is.
Ailments among the cast posed another challenge in this past week. Personally, I was dealing with pharyngitis, and tendonitis in my left knee, though physiotherapy sessions have eased my knee pain. I refrain from medication as much as possible but the only way I could sing the show through every night was to take ibuprofen and numb the pain in my throat. Thankfully my voice was there, but the freedom I usually enjoy in my instrument was not.
There was no way I was going to let this company down or add my problems to their existing challenges. I have never missed a show in my life and I was not missing this one.
Adrenaline and willpower came through and I was in better health by Saturday 30 September, just in time for mum, her partner, and grandma to watch me perform. If you follow my blog, you may recall a post from July called Fading Memories. It was about my grandma’s dementia and my theory about singing to her so that she would remember me. Well, she did remember me and she called me by name in the foyer after the show and gave me a big hug; Saturday’s two-show day was made extra special because of this.
The most precious part of this experience for me have been the friendships I have formed. I love conversation and discovering new perspectives as friendships grow, and I have made some special connections. I love how the arts can bring people together when they otherwise may not have met, and explore such heights of emotion.
I wish that I could take you, my readers, on a journey through my track as Eponine. From the prayer that my friends and I offer before curtain call through to the final bows, it is such a privilege to travel through the backstage maze, and deliver this show to our patrons. My experience of this role belongs to its own place and time and shall forever be cherished in my memory; the magnificent music will soar in my mind for years to come.
The least I can do is offer you insight through the reviews and production shots that will give you an idea of our journey as a company. To date, we have received reviews from Broadway World, Stage Whispers, Adelaide Theatre Guide, and Glam Adelaide. Thanks to the talented David Haddy, we have professional photography to relive our precious stage memories. You can view his public album via his Facebook page Private Collections – Photography by David Haddy.
On behalf of our company, thank you to the patrons who have attended our shows so far. Your enthusiasm for our production and your positive reception have filled my heart with an incomparable joy, and have made all of our efforts worth the while.