The continent of Europe is so wide, Mein Herr
Dancing with tears in my tights
Full run throughs of the show start next week. So in this, the last 'plain rehearsal' week, we have
to do all the big dance numbers. That amounts to 3 nights of solid dancing, in either achy satin heels,
or marginally more comfortable tap shoes, for about 3 hours at a time. Oh, and in fishnets and
leotards. No trousers permitted from here on in!
Now, while it's great exercise to be doing so much dancing, and it's also a mental work-out, one of
the unpleasant side effects is that with that amount of adrenalin bouncing around in your system, it's
really hard to drop off to sleep when you get home sometime after 11 pm. I find myself waking at 2 or
3 a.m, either going through the routines in my head, or else mulling over the significance of the fact
that I'm placed at the back in a certain number. By the morning of the third day, I've had less than 8
hours sleep over the previous 2 days, and I'm a wreck. I burst into tears over breakfast, and then do
the sensible thing and take the day off work and go back to bed.
Well, you would not believe how noisy my neighbourhood is during the day ! Honestly, it's as dead as
a doornail in the evenings! There was someone trimming the hedge right below my bedroom window.
There was a furniture removal van which started unloading, complete with shouted instructions from
the driver and his mate. There's a construction site just across the street. And of course the bus
goes past every 15 minutes. In the end I went to work to get some peace and quiet.
Is that hard to sing?
A singer has been called in to perform her song for assessment. She's been amusing the dancers
most of the evening as she's practising using headphones and a walkman, and is apparently oblivious to
the fact that she's singing out loud during some of the choreographer's little lectures. Anyhow, we
'take five' while she starts her number. It is quickly apparent that she is horribly out of tune, and
one by one we all find something to do, cos it's just too painful to watch (especially accompanied by
her clichéd and melodramatic hand movements). I bury my head in the crossword, and soon half a
dozen other girls are crowded around me 'helping'. The number ends, and there is a deafening hush in
the hall, in contrast to the usual buzz and chatter. She's asked to sing it again. We're all feeling
enormous sympathy for her - it's a difficult song, and it must be nerve-wracking to have to do it twice
in front of us. But then, if you're gonna perform on stage then nerves have to be overcome. It's no
better the second time through. I - cruel bitch that I am - think it's reminiscent of Madame Edith
from 'Allo 'Allo. It's clear to all that this cannot be in the show, and as the director calls her over to
him, we start some small-talk to disguise the bad news that he is evidently giving her. I don't envy
either of them.
All of her qualities extolling
OK I'll admit it. I'm jealous of her. The new girl is about 6 foot tall, with legs that go on to
Christmas, and exotic Eastern European good looks. I don't know why we're so worried about
appearing on stage in our undies - the audience won't be able to take their eyes off her! She is also a
very good dancer, and appears to have usurped me as 'main dancer who'll be used to demonstrate
anything tricky'. So I was a bit annoyed when she told me off for being in her way during the
cross-over part of 'Chorus Line'. 'Well I'll try to move faster!' I said - meaning, you could
take shorter steps you know. I'm told my face spoke volumes.
Puddin' on my top hat
I had adopted a Top Hat for the finale from one of the girls who'd dropped out of the routine.
Then she decided she would do it, so I had to return the hat. Unfortunately by that stage it had spent
a week on the backseat of my car, whose main inhabitant is my sweet-toothed daughter, who'd managed
to smear chocolate on the rim. Oooops! Sorry!!!
Smile though your heart is breaking
I've rather cannily managed to get my photo in the programme twice - purely unintentionally you
understand! The final version goes to the printers next week, and I duly lined up in groups of four
with the other chorus dancers, forgetting that I'd already had a solo headshot taken for the Sondheim,
when I get to sing 3 lines on my own! Ah well, no-one will notice.....