Sunday, December 15, 2013

Day 71: Iolanthe Opening

Back in the good old days when Iolanthe was still an everyday part of my life, I wrote a couple blog posts about the experience. Due to lack of photos and general busy-ness, I never posted them. So now, I present to you, a series of three posts about Iolanthe. Today's installment was written the day of the first show, when I was definitely feeling the pre-show jitters...


Iolanthe opens today!

It’s bizarre to think that we’ll actually be performing in just a few hours. The dress rehearsal yesterday, where we finally got to use the real stage, made it feel a bit more real, but it’s still strange to think that all our hard work is going to pay off tonight.

There's nothing like being on stage again...
We’ve put so much effort into this show. Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas aren’t easy, but I’ve been really impressed with how everyone has handled the challenge. For the most part it’s been relatively smooth sailing, until the past few weeks where the little issues have started to surface. Singing with a live orchestra, for instance, is much more difficult than I expected. However, everyone’s really stepped up their game in the past few days, and I’m confident everything will fall into place tonight.

Fairies watching during the dress rehearsal
We had a bit of a scare on Saturday when our title character was ill. One of the other chorus principles was bumped up to play Iolanthe, so I had to take her songs and a few lines. It was a little stressful, having to learn extra parts at such short notice, but it was also really exciting to find that we were so well prepared to handle the crisis. As it turned out, the actress playing Iolanthe was better in time for the dress rehearsal, so the show will run as planned. But I still know Lelia’s part, in case she accidentally trips on the stairs…

One thing I’ve loved about being in Iolanthe is that I got to be the choreographer for the show. I joined the production expecting that there would be quite a bit of choreography involved (all the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas I’ve seen before have been quite dance-heavy) and was disappointed to learn that there would be very little dance. When the director learned I was interested in choreography, he started giving me little bits of music to fill with dance until eventually, just three weeks ago, I was officially dubbed Lord High Choreographer.

Loudly let the trumpets bray!
Initially, it was rather stressful being thrown into this role three weeks before the show (not that I’m complaining—I kinda asked for it…) I had four dance segments to create and teach to a cast of mainly non-dancers. The first choreography rehearsal was really nerve-wracking because I had just spent hours composing the dances, and I was worried the director wouldn’t like them. Instead, he really liked what I had created, and he contributed a couple ideas to make them even better. My volunteer dancers were also super keen and enthusiastic, and they learned the combination really quickly.

In short, Iolanthe has been a whirlwind of singing and dancing, of new experiences and new friends combined with general Gilbert and Sullivan awesomeness. It’s been so much fun, and I’m already excited for next year’s production. 

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