Brigadoon, or: How to Survive Show Week


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!




Thoughts today


I have a lot of thoughts but nothing coherent enough for a post on one topic, so this will just be a bit of a stream of consciousness.



I’m not sure where my blogging love-yet-fear stems from, or why I try to keep posts half-done until I feel they are written the way I wish them to be, when I should just be writing.


At the moment we are 2 weeks away from moving into our first home, and while it’s not our first living space together, as we’ve been renting together for over 4.5 years, it’s the first one we can really call our own.  I was so excited and ready and then my parents panicked about the financial realities of it all, and it did fill me with a wee bit of panic.  But I am back to some of my calm today – we know what we are getting into, and we can manage it, and everything will work out fine.  I’m baking a bit and baking brings out feelings.



I live in this constant balance of knowing what a big deal this is but at the same time telling myself it’s not that big a deal  because everyone does it eventually and it’s the best financial decision right now, as gosh, despite some initial costs it’s a lower/more sensible monthly outlay than any of our rental options and we’ve committed to being here in Scotland.



And speaking of commitments, the time is coming soon to decide whether I apply to get my Indefinite Leave to Remain (i.e. I can live in the UK forevs) or whether I simply extend my Ancestry Visa. I have no idea what to do. I was totally for the ILR and then realised that I don’t need to have the right to stay indefinitely, because our ultimate goal is still to move back to New Zealand, and it costs so much more. But at the same time, if I don’t do that, and simply extend for £500 less, what happens if something causes us to end up staying here longer than another 5 years and I have to do it then, anyway?

But at the same time, I definitely do not want to be here 10 years. I want to be here another 3. Tops. And we have planned for that. So what’s the harm in extending?

But if I don’t just extend and I do get ILR, I can apply for citizenship a year after that, and get a passport.

But do I really want citizenship? The passport would be handy, but are we coming back? And our kids will have it through Dave anyhow.  And citizenship is another £800+ to pay, only 12 months after paying £1400+ for the ILR.  And if I get ILR and don’t decide to get citizenship and we move home, after 2 years of absence my ILR is invalid, anyway.



Like, seriously. Life decisions and citizenship decisions and locational problems and geez. I’m such a bore, right?  I always try to remind myself that some people would love to have these problems!  I’m so lucky for where I am and what I have.



In other thoughts, my show is going brilliantly so far (well, what we’ve put together) and I am enjoying the company and the production team and I look forward to rehearsals and am completely buzzing afterwards, and wow, I can’t remember the last time I felt that way.  I’ve been performing for over 20 years now.  I’ve loved the theatre companies I’ve worked with over the last 5-10 years but sometimes they give you a feeling of YOU’RE HERE TO WORK and you’re NOT TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY! rather than isn’t it awesome, we’ll be putting on an amazing show and let’s make it happen the best way we can.  I really feel that appreciating and rewarding your cast gets the best out of them, not guilting them into working hard for you because they just should cause aren’t you lucky to be here?



I mean, we’re serious about it, and working hard, but in amateur theatre we’re all doing it because we want to, not because we’re being paid to, and other companies sometimes make you feel like you should be grateful to even be there rather than we really appreciate you being a part of this!  Well at least in my experience.

So.  Next week we do a full read/sing and principal rehearsals start November 10th. Can’t wait.



And in final thoughts, it’s getting cold. Let’s hope our new place doesn’t cost too much to heat! And no snow til December, thanks. I love it and all, but I don’t fancy moving in a snowstorm/on streets that haven’t been cleared and gritted.


Write again soon.