Sunday night is, for the most part, the theatre world’s ‘Friday.’ It is the day we theatre folk come home, pour a glass of wine and reflect on the week that has been.
Last Sunday, performer John O’Hara sat down after a long week inside the Green Machine and wrote this thought provoking, beautiful comment on life in the theatre… And we think he just made seat A42 the most important seat in the house!
As the sun sets on another working week at Wicked Inc. a few things struck me throughout our ‘Friday’ (I’ve also had a generous amount of wine). Many years ago a 17 year old boy flew to Melbourne from Perth to spend Christmas with family. Because no one would agree to go with him, that 17 year old boy bought a single ticket (A42) to see a matinee performance of Sunset Boulevard at The Regent. I still remember feeling frozen and in utter awe of the opening number, Let’s Have Lunch. Something changed that day… I decided that that 17 year old boy was going to be in a big musical at The Regent… and what was to happen in-between, was merely details.
Today as I began to warmup my tired, sore and sleepy bones in the empty stalls of the beautiful Regent Theatre, I looked around and noticed her beauty while still empty and before the craziness of the matinee kicked in. I wondered who might be sitting in A42 today and went and sat down in my favourite seat whilst diligently singing my arpeggios.
Usually on a Sunday I buy the papers to read whilst backstage in-between scenes, today I was running late and coffee was priority. So instead of reading, I listened and watched the show from the wings where possible. Watching and hearing my colleagues and friends (some of my best) on and offstage come together to tell this story, this wonderful story where the underdog triumphs, grows, and falls in love was mesmerising. Again, I wondered who was sitting in A42 and if our story was changing them.
We at Wicked are story tellers and for that I am truly grateful and humbled. Every day I get to play dress ups and wander down the Yellow Brick Road with a big bunch of eccentric, crazy and wonderful people to Oz… and in Oz anything is possible. There are spells, a city made entirely of emerald, flying monkeys, animals that can talk and green girls that can fly.
Sometimes it’s hard and tiring and boring. Sometimes my shoulder hurts or my voice cracks or I feel bloated. But mostly, it’s swell. It’s a privilege to have visited Oz. It’s a privilege to tell stories. It’s a privilege to earn a living from something that brings so much joy.
My show is for anyone who sits in A42 at The Regent… that seat is magic, it makes dreams come true and it changes you… For Good.
John O’Hara is currently appearing as the Governor of Munchkinland and understudies Dr. Dillamond in WICKED.