Thursday, June 18, 2015

Funny GIRL!!! (by Emma)

Central Valley High School is well known for their phenomenal theater program, and last November through March I was able to see why. I got to preform in the winter musical Funny Girl, the story of Fanny Brice and her experiences in the theater, and I had a blast. It was a lot of hard work (even though I was just a chorus member) and it took a lot of time, especially during the last month. Our directors (including singing, dancing and acting) all had a lot of experience and did a great job dealing with the 40-something teens we all called a cast.

Mrs. Fanny Brice doing her famous "Baby Snooks" show

From beginning to end there was a lot of work and effort expected of us, but, as I begrudgingly came to understand, that's what made us and our program stand out. After try outs were finished we quickly understood our life outside of the school had almost disappeared. Practices were every day after school and lasted to about 6-6:30. We were also given home work from Mike (the director, who has been in countless Broadway shows himself), he had each and every cast member regardless of their part (stage hand, to Mr. Ziegfeld, to Fanny Brice) write a 5 page paper about their characters life, hopes, dreams, family, etc. on top of learning lines, lyrics, dance moves, blocking, or (in my case) how to walk down stairs in heals with 2 text books on your head. But it was still fun. I had friends with me all the time and got to meet a bunch of new and amazing people. As the show progressed we began to add time-period, authentic costumes, make up, hairdos, and props.

For one of my parts I was a show girl, a Ziegfeld Folly. Florence Ziegfeld was the biggest producer in the 1920's and 1930's, he was very rich and spent TONS of money on his shows, his girls (the Follys) were known for balancing insane head dresses on their heads, and mike wanted us to be as accurate as possible (hence the balanced books). The biggest head piece in our show was about 6 feet across and 4 feet high (thankfully that one wasn't entrusted to me). We got to build our own head dresses and the costumes that went with them (with supervision and direction from our costumer). 

Ziegfeld Folly (fairly small head dress)
Biggest head piece (i helped make it :) )
This is my costume the red lace was over my shoulders.
The week before opening was named by the very first CV cast Hell Week. This week consists of early mornings, normal school, show practice that starts 15 min after school and lasts until between 9 and 11 at night. When you get home you have to do any homework from your classes that day and hopefully getting to bed around midnight. We were also surprised with the LATE Saturday practices. 

The show it self was crazy and scary and exciting and educational. We all really had to learn how to roll with the punches as lighting, sets, props, ques, and lines all got messed up. There were quick changes, falls on stage, and messed up choreography, but performance nights were my favorite part of the whole thing. Being on stage was nerve-wracking but also different from anything I've ever done before, and the hours prior opening were the best. We'd get there 3 hours preceding curtain and everyone did their hair, costuming, and makeup together. There were pounds of make up (we all said we weren't wearing our faces, we were wearing someone else's face painted on to ours, because of all the makeup) and gallons of hairspray (we might as well have been wearing plastic helmets for the solidity of our hair). We got a lot of time to bond and sing and eat and laugh together, and before the show started we had the coolest pre-show ritual.

This is my dinner after our first show at 12:47 a.m.
(notice the ridiculous amount of make up)
An hour before curtain all the cast and crew who wanted to were invited to join our big prayer circle, we had an average of 45-50 kids a night who all held hands in a circle and took turns praying to our respective God or just the universe. It was so awesome getting to hear all the different kids from different backgrounds with different faiths and beliefs thank God for this experience and asking his help so we could preform our very best. You could totally feel the spirit and love that we all had for each other and that our Heavenly Father had for all of us. I totally know this made a difference on stage and off for all of us, cast, crew, orchestra, and directors a like.

The show itself had some good nights and some not so good nights, but over all it went really well. Everyone was very mature when dealing with the hiccups and we had a lot of fun.

Some of the best people in the cast, loved working with them
But with all the late nights, and the short tempers, and the hours of practicing and building and tear down (after the show) it was an amazing opportunity and I'm so glad we could I could be a part of it, and cant wait to do it again.


Nurse Graham said...

Emma, what a great write-up sharing your experience with this production. From Katelyn's accounting of productions, the week before opening night is aptly named. She found that the adrenaline rush of that week carried her through most nights, but she crashed hard after the last night. That crash was probably why she had a very strong dislike for striking the set. I'm glad you enjoyed your time in the theatre. I hope to be able to see you in some more shows.

Amy F. said...

We really enjoyed the results of all your hard work Emma! What a great memory that you'll have your whole life!