Lucy is one of our chorus members. ‘Mack and Mabel’ is her first show with SAC.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a show, and even longer since that show was a musical. ‘Mack and Mabel’ was not a show I’d seen, but the more I learnt about it and the history of the characters, the more interested I became. Set in the era which saw the birth of ‘talkies’ and the move away from silent films, ‘Mack and Mabel’ is a tale that includes love and romance underneath moments of hilarity. The silent film genre heavily influenced how this play is set, and are a style of comedy so different to that which we primarily see today. Anyone who has seen silent films will know that facial expressions and gestures are the key to their comedic value, which has played a significant role in how characters have developed. Being mainly based on real people, the characters have a lot of depth to them, which is being brilliantly bought to life by the principles. They have all clearly done a lot of work on their characters personalities to make them their own.
As Sophie, our magnificent leader, has reminded us, a chorus can make or break a show. Choruses (or should it be chori?) have their routes in classical Greek theatre and are now a staple part of many genres of stage show. The chorus have all had their own characters to develop within the scenes, reacting to the dialogue and actions on stage as it happens. Having such a range of characters to play throughout the show can be tricky, swapping from studio girls to Keystone Kops to tappers requires a lot of energy and concentration. This has meant that rehearsals have, of course, been intense. Personally, I’ve really enjoyed being part of a high energy and fast paced rehearsal environment again, and judging by the smiles and laughter I think everybody else feels the same.
This is my first show at SAC, and the cast have been really welcoming to me as the newbie. It’s a really tight-knit group who have clearly worked together a lot before, which creates a fantastic dynamic on stage. I would say I was thrown in at the deep end trying to keep up, but it would be fairer to say I dived in completely willingly of my own accord! The whole cast has made it really easy to become a part of the show. Sophie’s clear and precise direction has meant we know *exactly* what we’re doing and when. I hope that also means everything is happening as she pictured it and intends it to be!
Now we are about a month away from opening night (nobody panic). Barbara and Eleanor have choreographed some amazing movement that has been put into place with the dialogue. Running an act every rehearsal is the best way to make sure everyone remembers the flow of the show before we add in the staging, props, and costumes in a couple of weeks’ time.
We are about to start a crucial stage of the pre-show process – set building. Not many people in the cast know that originally, I started out with the intentions of helping backstage. Then somehow, I found myself at an audition, telling Sophie I know how to tap (albeit 17 years or so since I’ve worn tap shoes), and how much I’d love to be a part of the show! It might not have been what I intended, but I’m really glad it’s the way things turned out. The set building will be a great way for the cast to see the show come to life over the next few weeks. It’s an exciting time in the run up to opening night, I hope we will see you there!
Tickets are on sale from www.shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk and the show starts on 11th July at Shaftesbury Arts Centre, Dorset.