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Making The Most of Scrooge

November 8, 2012

I am currently trading my La Duca’s for a pair of granny boots, a bonnet and various hoop skirts in the role of Mrs. Cratchit (and Ensemble) in ‘Scrooge The Musical’ at The Fireside Theatre, WI. On paper, it is the perfect show for me.

1. The characters are British
2. Charles Dickens (author of ‘A Christmas Carol’ which the show is based on) lived in Rochester, Kent, the small town where I grew up in England.
3. There are a couple of big production dance numbers where I can heel click and box step happily away, reliving my pantomime days.
However, it is proving to be more of a learning curve than I originally thought.

Firstly, I may be British but my dialect is not naturally the same as dwellers of Camden Town in 1843. Fortunately, my parents and grandparents grew up in South London and I was fully aware of a cockney accent. The problem here, was that a Midwest American audience wouldn’t understand the true British cockney accent that I grew up knowing. I actually had to slightly Americanize and de-cockney-fy (I just made that word up) my accent.

Secondly, despite the fact that I speak like a soprano, I am a standard, broadway, unclassical, alto singer. So much so, that I would happily sing all the men’s parts in a show if I could. However, in pursuit of bettering myself, I am attempting to not concede to going down the octave in the unison parts. I definitely won’t be a soprano by the time the show closes but I’m at least dusting the cobwebs off my head voice!

Thirdly, dancing in period costume on a small stage in the round is rather more difficult than in rehearsal clothes. The act of breathing becomes an art when your waist is constricted by a pair of tights, an elasticated mic belt, a leotard, a layered petticoat and a full-length hoop skirt.

Fourthly, I feel like I see my dresser more than my cast during the show. I am in an eternal state of quick change, including 5 wigs and a mask. The biggest challenge being the couple of seconds I have to prepare for the death of Tiny Tim after rushing off from the joyous company number ‘Thank you very much’. There…will…be…tears!

Lastly, someone once said that you should never work with animals or children. It is true that their unpredictability means that the show is never the same twice. You may not enjoy the experience of an improvised comedy sketch going on in the middle of your serious scene. However, I have been blown away by the talent of these children as young as 8. Sometimes you find inspiration in the unlikeliest of places.

So, in true ‘Scrooge’ fashion, I am tackling the ‘Bah Humbugs’ with a plan to better myself. I am grateful for the opportunity to stretch my boundaries and perform outside my dance-heavy/ pop/ broadway style musical comfort zone. Although I have learned that I never want to be poor or have 5 kids in real life!

The only thing left to say is, ‘God Bless Us, Every One!’

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2012 11:51 am

    I love that you’re taking this project as a personal challenge in so many ways. Cute picture!

  2. August 25, 2013 10:47 am

    Heading to Fireside this Christmas, and it was so fun to come across your blog post!

  3. August 25, 2013 10:49 am

    Headed to Fireside to be in their Christmas show this season, & it was so fun to come across your blog post!

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  1. Sunday Summary — November 11, 2012 « The Green Room

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