THE show must go on, as they say.
Unless COVID-19 stops it dead in its tracks.
As was the case for Echuca-Moama Theatre Company’s production of Little Shop of Horrors.
If it wasn’t for stupid coronavirus, the cast and crew, which includes moi, would be in our final week of rehearsals.
In fact, we would already have moved into the Paramount Theatre ahead of opening night on Thursday.
We were in our third or fourth week of rehearsals before restrictions came into effect, forcing us to postpone the 60s Motown-inspired musical to later in the year.
Resulting in many of us suffering from no-show blues.
For thespians like us who thrive on entertaining others, it has sent us into serious theatre withdrawals.
Especially when the only place you can sing, dance and act is within the confines of your own home and not even your children look up from their iPads when you nail that high note.
So if you happen to see some melancholy souls wandering the aisles of the supermarket, or walking their dogs down the street or sitting in their offices randomly belt out show tunes, just give them a little smile or a clap or, even better, a standing ovation. Because they need it.
We have all been missing the camaraderie and laughter that comes with weekly rehearsals. And the electric atmosphere and rush of adrenaline that comes with being on stage.
So here are some ways my Little Shop cast-mates have been keeping the theatre urge alive.
Zali McKee (Skip Snip): "I’ve started spontaneously doing one woman shows to my favourite musicals to keep my spirit up during COVID-19 and keeping me sane.”
Tamara Cadd (Audrey): "I take the dog walking on tracks where no-one goes and sing all my songs at the top of my voice. I also tend to have periods where I only speak (sing) in musical form, filling in time during this time with no theatre".
Claire Copp (EMTC president): "We actually made our own theatre where we video message our girls each Saturday and dress up for the occasion. They were clowns, school girls, brides and fortune tellers. Husband Kevan and I emulated Kath and Kel, cross dressed, wore bed attire and dressed to the nines.”
Gerard Oman (Audrey II aka the plant): "I walk my dog in the bush and also sing my songs out loud hoping no-one suddenly pops up. If they do, I pretend I am talking to my dog. Which is a bit hard when you’re singing ‘‘Hey little lady hello. You’re looking cute as can be’’.”
Glen McFadden (director): "I run. And run and run. To try and burn off the built up tension. Headphones in, bopping along to some favourite tunes. Usually when I’m far from people, I have been known to burst into song or break into an elaborate dance sequence whilst running.”
Lauren Douglas (Chiffon): "I have followed every single musical hashtag on Instagram and TikTok to dance and sing along to.”
Greg Kelvin (assistant to director): "Singing in the shower every day of my life. I put on the old shows and watch the fun and laughter shared. Facebook is a good tool from time to time as it brings up past memories and makes me smile, laugh and weep.”
Amber Halliwell (wino): "I have adopted a daughter, my gorgeous galah named Toby and I'm teaching her to sing and dance which is lots fun."
As for me, who plays uptown NBC bigshot Miss Bernstein, I am using this time to fulfill my dream of living my life like a musical, where I spontaneously break out into song or dance at the most opportune times.
Like when I am farewelling my children at school drop-off, helping them with their homework, asking them about their days and putting them to bed.
You know, so as not to embarrass them.
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