Tasha’s ‘Threepenny Opera’ Blog 2 – “We all deserve prosperity and freedom, and happiness is everybody’s right….”
Hello! So the ‘Threepenny Opera’ clan have been a busy bunch this week as they embarked on a hectic technical rehearsal, a dress run and two fantastic preview performances.
With such a complex musical score and such intricate (although not always eloquent) dialogue, it was admirable that everything appeared to be in pretty good shape at the beginning of the technical proceedings! To great credit, our own ‘Team Bonnie & Clyde’ (aka co-directors Jenny Sealey & Pete Rowe) seemed to sail through the tech and dress in a calm and collected fashion…which could only have set a precedent for the rest of us…
However, there are always the odd incidents that make technical rehearsals magical moments to remember when actors are united with their props for the first time. This was no exception when our fabulous TJ Holmes (Walt Dreary) managed to smash his ceramic plant pot within seconds of having it in his possession (all fixed now). This paved the way for the lovely Joe Vetch (Bob the Saw) to then ‘saw’ into his own thumb instead of the harpsichord legs in the gang scene. All that was left was for beautiful Barbara Hockaday (Betty) to drop the floor tom drum during the intimate opening murmurs of ‘Mack the Knife’ and we were set for the dress rehearsal! (Having said that, the fact that we teched a show of this magnitude in under 48 hours was nothing short of impressive!) Thank goodness for the wonderful team at the Nottingham Playhouse who kept us stylishly fed and watered and Graeae’s Associate Director, Amit Sharma’s hilarious impromptu compositional skills throughout this whole process which inevitably kept all spirits high!
By the time Friday’s dress rehearsal rolled around we were all geared up and extremely excited at the prospect of doing this for the first time with an audience. I have to note at this point that not only did this involve the undertaking of acting, singing, instrument playing and choreography but adding the Access elements of signing, audio description and operating of powerpoint captions & videography as well. All in all it was an epic task and was delivered fantastically by all…there were of course the odd hiccups that made this equally joyous but none that could compare to Will Kenning’s (Tiger Brown’s) valiant attempt to ‘very solemnly’ pronounce the word ‘Azerbaijan’ which unfortunately came out as ‘Aber-Ab-Aberzaijan’ (or something to that effect)…cue hysterical laughter from the rest of the company!
So with all of this occurring on Friday afternoon it was time for us to focus on Friday night…our first preview performance. It has to be said that without a doubt the company came together and delivered an exhilarating opening show which made you know you were a part of something to be incredibly proud of. The audience were electric and it was a phenomenal evening…even though Stacey Ghent (Nellie) had to battle with a particularly persistent rogue fly whilst playing her trumpet and CiCi Howells (Polly) and myself (Lucy) managed to simultaneously sing the same ‘alternative lyrics’to the ‘Jealousy Duet’!
Our ‘notes’ session the following morning reflected the thoughts of our ever encouraging creative team (Pete, Jenny, Rob & Mark) which were incredibly positive and it also stemmed the best quotes of the show so far….”When in doubt, drink!” (Pete – referring to the gang scene…obviously!) and John Kelly’s (Narrator’s) response to minimising colourful language in the pre-show…”My ears are not a sewer”…Priceless!
Saturdays’s preview performance was a joy with yet another sensational audience. I think we all enjoyed our second opportunity to play and the response at the end was phenomenal! Again, we had a couple of ‘funnies’ that ranged from Milton Lopes (Macheath) getting his hair caught in Tiger Brown’s jacket in the ‘Cannon Song’, CiCi Howells making a beautifully premature entrance into Act 2 before the scene had been introduced and Max Runham (Filch) managing to punch himself in his particulars with his own prosthetic arm to Ben Goffe (Jake), Stephen Collins (Ned) and Milton all managing to trip on Polly’s elaborate wedding dress at various points in the evening!
After such an exhausting but wonderful week Sunday was time for a well-deserved rest…for some this meant venturing back to wherever home is and for others it was enjoying an epic roast at The Roundhouse, Nottingham where we witnessed one Ben Goffe devour not only his own dinner but the remainder of mine, Sophie Byrne’s (Dolly) and Amelia Cavallo’s (Jenny) too…where does it go???
All that’s left do now is wish our ‘Signing Extraordinaire’ Jude Mahon a very Happy Birthday and hope that John Kelly finds a name for his horse….suggestions please! Until next week, where we embark on another preview and press night…goodbye!
Natasha Lewis…aka…Lucy Brown.