The Bodyguard Week 4 – We enter the theatre
You can can catch up with Bree’s previous columns here: Coming in Swinging
Day 1 Monday
Straight back into it. Cleaning the dance numbers and working on the grooves, hits and feel of the pieces, it’s being described as ‘make sure we are all at the same party.’ It’s a very fitting way to describe it, we need individuality but with a shared purpose and focus. I did a lot of homework yesterday so feeling on the front foot today.
In the afternoons now we are running the show top to bottom, stopping to fix things up, add layers and detail. The runs are starting to make more sense and I’m able to dissect the show. We had some vocal notes to really focus on which I enjoy, as vocally the show is really exciting. Having the possibility to do Backing Vocals in the show is a dream. Who wouldn’t want to be a Rachel Marron (Whitney Houston) backing vocalist?, or back up dancer for that matter.
Everything is happening and during the run they are squeezing in wardrobe fittings for tomorrow’s shoot.
Day 2 Tuesday
Today is slightly different to say the least. We head off to a film studio where we shoot some scenes for part of the show, as there are 4 Rachel Marron possibilities and 3 Frank Farmers, we have to do all combinations!!
I feel like it’s all done slightly out of sequence for me personally as I haven’t even started rehearsing the role, yes I’m aiming to be off book and solid vocally every chance I get but, I’m still trying to cement ensemble partner lifts first. However I indulge in all things ‘Rachel,’ hair, make-up, and wardrobe. Our team do such a fantastic job in making the day run smooth and to schedule. We have an international team that have re-created these scenes world wide, I can’t wait to see them in the show. Our director is very generous to get the best takes and our Franks are very warm and welcoming to all of us ladies.
The day was really exciting.
Day 3 Wednesday
As yesterday was broken up between two venues for the cast, (the crew were bumping in and the band rehearsing… exciting times), we all re-grouped and went through some notes from Monday’s run.
Amy Thornton, our Assistant Choreographer, then worked with the Backing Vocals and myself (as their swing) on their dance components, this was a great afternoon in finessing their plots and understanding their place in the show and story.
Then another run, the ensemble are being very understanding in answering a lot of questions for me in the down time on their spacing so I can have a clear understanding of their tracks. Sometimes I hate asking questions but sometimes it must be done.
Day 4 Thursday
Morning off, yes that’s right a morning off!! (Well ,until 12 noon). The director was working with the leads and then we too worked through notes before heading for another run. This week has been a lot of runs and work-through notes, which actually means there’s not a lot of time or space for us swings to work on stuff. I try where possible to keep working on the plot sheets I cover, their individual choreography and their traffic.
This is our last day in the studio and our last run. There’s a lot of energy and excitement in the room. We are ready to move to the theatre to understand the set but I’m slightly anxious and hoping I have done enough work.
Friday off – Good Friday
Day 5 Saturday… Theatre day.
We have now flipped to afternoon rehearsals, finally. This suits me much better. I have been fortunate enough to have worked 8 shows a week before so I feel like I know what I like at my dressing table (I’ve packed half my wardrobe and bathroom), but I like to be prepared! However that’s the least of my problems.
I have transferred most of my notes now to my iPad so it’s all in one place and easy to edit for the week ahead. I get in early to set up and re acquaint myself with the theatre, taking some time to understand where everything is. Wardrobe is finding people wherever possible to fit costumes, but before we know it we are on the stage working through music and sound stuff before we start teching the show.
Then the technical rehearsal starts, for those that haven’t been part of a tech rehearsal, it’s exactly that. Technical. My understanding is that in a perfect world, we would be at a great place to be able to work through the blocking and choreography for each number at full show level, so all the technical aspects (sound, lighting, mechanists, props, stage management) work through and learn the show. It’s always slow, which is great for swings – plenty of time to see changes and spacing, time in between to run lines with other covers. I even had a chance to sit in the audience and see some scene work that as an ensemble/swing I’m not involved with.
Before we know it’s dress-down time and the day is done.
Day 6 Sunday
By the time I get in and do hair and make up, I get the feeling that I didn’t actually leave the theatre. Straight back into tech! Even though we move slowly, I feel like when we get to the large numbers we move really quickly, then remind myself tech is for the technical aspects not always for the performers to be working stuff out, so I take all the notes physically possible.
It’s all making more sense on the set and the depth of spacing is finally starting to settle in. Again because we have four young boys playing ‘Fletcher,’ we are teching them in one by one allowing more stage time for the ensemble, so that’s a win, win.
Having costumes and ‘show shoes’ on the stage can always throw us a first and we are all adjusting to the changes that this brings, but embracing the new elements and having fun creating our ensemble characters. There can be a lot of down time in tech, so trying to stay ‘in the show’ as much as possible by watching from the front, listening to all the notes on the show as a whole, any understanding of universal intentions I’m hoping will help when preparing cover material. I also love this as once audiences are in, I won’t get the opportunity to see it from the front again.
And there it is… stage management calls ‘dress down’ which means we call it a day. And a week.
We are in the theatre, and in a few days we will have an audience!
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