The Bodyguard Week 2 – Building Stamina
After a day off I’m feeling refreshed and ready to get back into it.
My body and mind are starting to build stamina now and I’m getting up easier and adjusting to routine. (I’m not much of a morning person).
We have finished two major dance numbers and I’m hoping to cement some tracks this week for those numbers.
Today we had a vocal recap, which was great especially for the numbers we have now choreographed. I personally find it easier to retain lyrics when I have visual staging and choreography cues in my mind. In this show the dance style complements the vocal style so it makes it easier to vibe. This is my first pop-style musical – I’m used to a much more legit vocal style musical, so it’s fun to be vibing in the vocal calls. In terms of learning the two different harmonies (plus lead melody for my understudy), I am listening to the chords and layering of harmonies and backing off singing too loud during initial rehearsals. This is so I can hear a good blend of all the parts, even when I’m singing my own vocal soprano line (which is my on-stage swing vocal line) and I can understand where the other parts sit in relation to each other.
Every now and then I stand with the other vocal line and work through it. It all sounds fabulous in theory, I think for cementing this there will be a lot of home practice… sorry housemates. We then revisit choreography from the previous week and prepare for the publicity call in the morning.
Media call morning! Everyone looks hot and there’s totally a buzz! The media flood in and although it feels so premature, being only in week two, we are all nervous but excited.
For media we performed the opening number ‘Queen of the Night’ and Paulini (Rachel Marron), Kip (Frank Farmer) and one of our young Fletchers performed some scenes.
This was the highlight: seeing Paulini, someone we know for her incredible voice, indulge in the character ‘Rachel Marron’ with such truth and conviction after only one week was so insanely inspiring. I can not wait to see the rest of her show.
We then continue choreography. I’m starting to feel like I have more understanding but lacking a real flow and stamina for the numbers, which I know will only come from being thrown into a plot. From time to time, this thought makes me slightly anxious. Note to self; go to yoga to de-stress.
People do ask how much work goes on outside of rehearsals. Every show is different and every person is different, based on your preparation prior to rehearsals, when you receive the script, your role etc. For me, it never stops. From preparation to maintaining a healthy body and mind. However, now the initial week is over I am putting time aside every night to recap and clearly re write everything we lock in. I also need time to ‘check out’ each night so that the next morning I am refreshed.
Today I was nervous, I had an understudy vocal call and was a lot less prepared than I usually would be as this was something that was only confirmed last week. However, I had done some work last night and over the weekend to make sure I would make best use of this time with our Associate Musical Supervisor, Tom Gearing and Australian Musical, Director David Skelts. I know how golden it is to have time this early on with creatives and I wanted to have a really clear understanding of what challenges may be in this role and any stylistic questions I might need answered so I could then take it away and prepare for this role.
Tom is so generous and gave me a great understanding of the music and style. I recorded everything. I didn’t wanna leave, I could have stayed there all day and sung through it! By the time I left I was much more at ease with the material and had an understanding of how best to prepare.
The rest of the day was again spent on choreography of another dance number. Again, my brain is at capacity.
Another day of dance ahead. I’m starting to make really clear plot sheets and some cheat sheets. As a swing it’s important to document the numbers as either a whole (with every track noted down) individually or both. I like to do both, plot the whole number on a document with the stage markings on it. I also make cheat sheets specific to a single track – just their specific spacing and any strange traffic they may have, clues and hints to successfully performing this plot. I do this in dot form so I am ready at a moment’s notice.
In the afternoon, one of the ensemble ladies is away, so I am able to step into her position. We are staging a number with the whole company and there’s a lot of energy in the room. Less choreography, but I still need to stay very attentive and understand it all as there are a lot of people on stage. If I’m honest, I’m actually just loving having some fun with the whole company for this number. I immediately write cheat sheets for this as it’s a great opportunity to feel this ensemble track.
Today we are layering up the numbers with levels of staging, adding the leading ladies, actors and children into numbers / scenes. I’m standing in for an ensemble lady again and there’s a healthy nervous energy in me that I know all too well. However, what I thought I knew felt very different amongst the company. When I tried to execute, I felt like I was always in the wrong position, in actual fact I’m just not used to having all the company either side and around me and feeling the traffic. (when I talk about traffic I mean the spacing, when it changes, crosses from one side to another, scene changes etc.) On the plus side, today there are four wonderful young boys alternating one role so we are repeating the number to put them in, giving me lots of practice…phew. I’m remembering that feeling of adrenalin as we do numbers flat-out start to finish.
Today was so beneficial.
Day 6 – the much-loved half day !!
I’m tired today, which I know is standard, but it’s also I sign I need to keep building stamina as much as humanly possible, which can be hard when working on the outskirts. I have a chat to Blake, (the male swing who I’m constantly working with as we swap sides and jump around up the back, having a giggle from time to time about our mistakes, melting brains and strange versions of lifts on first attempts) ‘are we doing enough? how did you feel jumping in the other day?’ Sometimes I just need a little swing vent.
I am again standing in for an ensemble lady and we are recapping everything and adding our leading ladies. As the focus isn’t completely on the ensemble it’s a low stress environment for me to get as much sorted in this track as possible. I had a great morning but then had some runs of numbers that just felt off. I know that as swings we strive for perfection, but the chance of it feeling perfect first go is almost impossible. I’m seeing how important numbers are in this show (across the front of the stage are numbers, 0 is at centre and then it goes out to 10 on either side and we have to hit our marks by numbers): ‘know your numbers.’ I’m sure in three months I will be thankful for them but right now… well, yeah there’s a lot of numbers floating around in my head.
We are getting the opportunity to see some of the show coming together and it’s super exciting. This is going to be a really fun show to perform especially as we start performing and connecting as a company. I’m loving seeing the dynamics unfold.
I need to find more time in the day. This after work ‘work’ is only going to get more intense as I’d also like to lock in dialogue and lyrics for my lead cover over the weekend, however right now I’m heading home to my partner, my dog and a bath.
Check out our publicity call, boys have their shirts off… just saying !!!
Till next week.
Get enough sleep and drink good coffee.
The Bodyguard opens at Sydney Lyric Theatre on April 21 before continuing to Brisbane and Melbourne. For more information and Tickets visit: thebodyguardmusical.com.au