Archive for the ‘ Singing Librarian flashback ’ Category

Singing Librarian flashbacks: Dreams


I don’t often remember dreams.  I’m not sure why this would be.  It could be due to my sleep patterns, or a side-effect of my utter lack of a visual memory (I cannot picture anythingin my head), or maybe I just don’t dream as much as other people.  Whatever the reason, I very rarely wake up knowing that I’ve had a dream, and it’s very rare indeed that I remember what I was dreaming about.  I do remember two different dreams where my house went up in flames, though, and my dream self has killed at least two people I know (so watch out, mwah ha ha!) for some reason.  However, I do normally manage an anxiety dream in the days or weeks leading up to a performance, and this is the focus of this flashback.  No insights into the strange backstage world of the theatre, I’m afraid.  Just into my head!

I’m sure most performers of any kind and at any level have had the usual anxiety dreams – turning up late; forgetting the words, or the steps, or the music; turning up with no clothes on…  But that’s kid stuff!  My sleeping mind seems to be able to come up with some wonderful variations on this theme. Continue reading

Singing Librarian flashback: Dido and Aeneas – costume dramas


I think it’s about time for another flashback.  Another long one, I’m afraid.  Summer 2003, The Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury.  Dido and Aeneas, performed in a double bill with The Ephesian Matron.

There are many things I could tell you about this production, but the thing that sticks most clearly in my mind is costume, and I know I shall never forget the June evening when we had our first fully-costumed run-through of the show.  Nor will anyone else present.  It was one of those evenings. Continue reading

Singing Librarian flashback: Tosca tantrums


Readers beware.  This is not a happy tale of backstage life, but rather a cautionary tale that I remember every time I am tempted to have a prima donna moment or act like a divo.

Summer 2001.  The Gulbenkian TheatreTosca.  This was one of the summer operas for the University of Kent with a combined professional and amateur cast, where I sang in the chorus.  In this one, I also had a significant ‘silent role’ as a soldier, but perhaps more on that another time.  As part of the project’s mission was to take a fresh look at each opera (always performed in English), the action was moved from occupied Italy during the Napoleonic era to occupied France during the early 1940s, which mostly made very good sense.  One notable change that is significant to this flashback is that the shepherd boy who sings a little ditty to open act three became instead a lost young woman in a holding camp, one of many about to take the train journeys we know so well from that period.

As act three opened, it was snowing on stage.  Continue reading

Singing Librarian flashback: Preparation Fugue


My second flashback is cheating in some ways, as it’s to an aspect of my most recent show, and I have already discussed it, as it was happening, on an h2g2 discussion thread.  But I think it might be an interesting insight into the joys and woes that go into making the near-impossible seem effortless.

Spring 2006.  The Marlowe Theatre.  Me and My Girl. I played the Hon. Gerald Bolingbroke, an upper-class twit and one of the principal roles.  This involved a number of marvellous costumes and a couple of essential props – a monocle, and an engagement ring.  The poor fool spends most of the show trying to persuade a perfectly awful woman to marry him, so the ring made several appearances, and the monocle had to be worn with all of the costumes, being secreted away in a range of waistcoat or shirt pockets.  Learning how to use a monocle was an entertaining struggle in itself, but I mention it as an aside because it’s vaguely relevant to the scene in question.

The scene is the last one in the first act, the preparation for a grand party (which will soon be interrupted by the famous Lambeth Walk), and the beginning of the scene made us all break out in a cold sweat every time it approached.  The Preparation Fugue.  Continue reading

Singing Librarian flashback: Die Fledermaus


I recently added a page to the blog on my on stage exploits, and thought I’d use occasional posts to peel back the curtains and give you a peek at backstage life as I’ve experienced it during some of these productions.   Sometimes the things the audience doesn’t see can be just as interesting as the things they do see.  So let’s begin…

Summer 2002.  The Gulbenkian Theatre.  Die Fledermaus, with a cast consisting of a mixture of professionals and local singers.  I won’t explain the plot, as it would take far too long to go into the multitudinous twists and turns, but it’s a silly tale of multiple mistaken identities, most of them deliberate.  We set it in the swinging sixties in New York City, which meant that the pivotal party had guests ranging from Andy Warhol to a guitar-toting hippie (me).  I present to you three scenes from the University of Kent Summer Opera production of Die Fledermaus. Continue reading

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