Well what a week we had!
Brigadoon was great fun. It was lovely to perform in a decent Edinburgh theatre this time (not that the Church Hill isn’t decent, it’s just small and doesn’t have pretty boxes!) and to have a leading role, using my operatic soprano, instead of my belt. SLO have proved to be a great theatre family, and we celebrated a lot around the show as well. As there is a wedding in the show, we had a wee Hen Do beforehand, then a dressing room party on the Friday night, and an after party on the Saturday.
I always try and get the week off work – if you have a busy day job, it’s an exhausting week. I felt sorry for the teachers in the cast! It’s also quite hard to focus if you’re switching between priorities every day. It’s great being able to sit at home or in the theatre nice and early, review your lines, take a moment of “zen” and just get yourself focused for the role. It makes a huge difference. It’s not hard to zone out on stage and start thinking of other things/go into auto-pilot, so really pushing yourself to focus beforehand does make sure your performance is at its best.
Use the tech and dress rehearsals to explore the theatre, take some pictures and watch some scenes you’re not in. It’s the only chance you get to go out front! It’s great to see what the audience see. Those lights are bright upon you, but you get such a view from the circle.
Take silly selfies from the dress circle…
…and of your costume in your dressing room!
Enjoy spending time with your lovely co-stars. You can lean on them when things go wrong, complain when something isn’t your fault, and cheer each other when the show is particularly brilliant.
Make a big dish of something easy to reheat to eat before you head to the theatre each night. I made a quiche, and it was so nice not having to think about what to do for food each night.
Appreciate the quiet moments (especially if you’re in a principals’ dressing room, it’s like Grand Central station). As above, use it to find some peace and take deep breaths to centre yourself.
And of course, when all is done – dance up a storm at the after-party! Shows go by so very fast, and the post-show blues do kick in. It’s weird having this experience with a group of people who you suddenly don’t get to see. We rehearsed 3 times a week (well I did!) and it’s strange not having this in my life, though I am kinda relieved to have some time to be at home for the next wee bit.
My tips for preserving your voice (some very obvious, but helpful to some hopefully!):
** Don’t sing when you don’t have to – i.e., the tech rehearsal is for lighting/sound/placement, but you don’t have to sing your entire numbers or push your voice too hard. Save it!
** Drink pineapple juice, it’s awesome stuff. Olive oil is a good pre-show coat if you need it and are feeling a bit gritty.
** Avoid: dairy, orange juice, chocolate 12 hours before singing. These all cause phlegm build-up.
** Warm up properly!! Sometimes it’s hard to do this in your dressing room, so get some time before you come to the theatre, or even in your car on the drive in. You don’t want to worry about cracking at the last minute.
** Wear a scarf when going in out of the theatre on cool nights, keep that throat warm!
** Warm water and herbal teas are your friend. You’ll be amazed how cold water can tighten everything up when you don’t want it to.
You can read a lovely review of Brigadoon here. I had a great time, and appreciate everyone who came to see it!