Friday, 16 July 2010

'Turn the damn page'

Oh No ! It's in 5 flats!

Tonight's excellent rehearsal was the last for which I have to play! Yay! On saturday I will pick up the superb professional young woman who is playing for the entire run of shows, the Tech and Dress rehearsals as well. The cast will be thrilled when she arrives for two reasons -

a) They will hear all the notes Sullivan actually wrote.

b) The music can zip along at the speed of lightening making the dance routines even more perilous to all but the youngest and most gazelle like cast member, and thus greatly more enjoyable.

Gilbert and Sullivan is really tricky stuff to play in parts, and wonderfully 'um ching' chords in other places. I have a Doctorate in busking accompaniments.

I have always had an extremely useful and utterly priceless ability to reduce the most complex and wonderful music to a series of chord sequences around which I can wriggle and scriggle rhythms which make it sound totally complete.

If however you ask me to play 'notes' I become as a Grade 2 beginner with fingers like large and overripe bananas. Notes mean technique, notes mean you practised your scales in your youth, and notes mean 'notes'! The tiny black animated, and slightly enebriated, spiders which dash around the 5 lines of the stave, just always out of reach.........

I was fortunate enough to be blessed with a page turner this evening. I say 'blessed' with some sense of reserve as the father of one of my teenaged Flappers volunteered for the job. He is a brilliant reader, so that was no problem. He plays the piano really quite well, so another problem solved, but he was enjoying what was happening on stage so much, all sense of responsibility for the indifferent pianist went out of the window, and I had to shout more than once or twice ' turn the damn page over'. He reminded at the end of the long rehearsal, and with marked solemnity, what a compliment it was to the quality of the show, that he was so riveted to the business on the stage he quite forgot about me!

Page turners make or break a performance - it seems such an easy thing to do, but making sure the correct black dots are visible at the right moment is the only way of ensuring that the music actually happens! This lovely man has volunteered his services for the next wee while, brave chap ! And presumably once he has witnessed the, in fairness, extremely funny and borderline lunatic antics on stage a few times more, he will be able to focus his brain on the score, without feeling as though he is missing out on the fun.

A good one people.

I think we may have a show.

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