Tonight is preview night for Breaking Up Is Hard To Do. Opening Night is this Friday. All matinée performances are sold out, and over 80% of all tickets are sold. I can’t write a long post, I’ve got a few hours of piano practise to do before teaching.
This is a jukebox musical. It’s about fun and rock ‘n’ roll and comedy, and lotsa glitz and pizzazz!
It’s also about passion and courage and commitment. The sheer energy and exhaustion I have seen from the directors as they nurture the cast, engineer the lighting and sound, oversee every logistical challenge to do with putting on a show: it floors me. This is Community Theatre: it’s small and intimate. Fixing the lights means physically getting up on a ladder and positioning lights individually according to the scenes. It’s not a Mega Boogie lighting experience. The directors work overnight at the theatre to see it right, going home into the dawn, before tonight’s preview.
At 6.30am today, Director Leonie Walsh smsed, “The cleaners needed the hall so we need to get some kip and then go back to finish the lighting plot. It’s weird heading to bed with the sun up.”
Of course, my piano playing has been pushed to its limits. I haven’t had to read so many little black dots since I was still living at home and taking exams. After weeks of painful comping in the beginning because these guys need the accompaniment at speed from the word go, I gradually got round to playing actual notes and with Opening Night in sight, I can say that – today – I really feel like a pianist! Haha, it brings a smile to my face as I say that now.
I still can’t get over being roped into this wonderful world, just because the band drummer John Kent found me from Gumtree and later Music Director June Gemmell called me. The first night I visited the theatre, Lighting Director David Gemmell showed me the venue. We went backstage, front of house, and when we stood on the stage looking out to the empty seating area, he said:
“It amazes me how, year after year after year, there are people out there who want to come together to work so very, very hard, to make a show happen.”
When I started writing the SabahSongs blog somebody asked me, “Why do you go to all this effort to do something for no financial gain?” I said because it is a good thing to do. And it was.
Maybe I’m mad. But there are a lot of mad people out there, and it makes me happy to have found some of them here, in Brisbane.