My WWRY director was also putting on 'Strictly Ballroom: The Musical".
When he first announced this I had thought....meh. I can't ballroom dance. How is this even going to be a go-er for me? My Dad has spent most of life entreating me FOLLOW. Most of our father daughter dances have ended in bruised toes. I just don't seem to be able to let go!!! Can't see how I'm going to fit into THIS musical.
But then there was a BBQ at my place and my WWRY director gave me a quick cuddle and asked, "Are you going to audition for SB? There's some great roles for older women..."
Now, I could have been outrageously offended by this remark. Older women? Huh!!!!!! I mean...I'm not QUITE 60 yet!!!!!!!!!!! (Oh my God....I'm an older woman....)
But instead I took encouragement from the fact that he'd suggested I audition! A quick scan of the movie, and the parts, threw up the character of Shirley Hastings:
Oh. MY. Goodness. She. Is. Awesome!!
She has classic lines like "I've got my happy face on today!" and "It was going to be SCOTT'S YEAR!!!!!!!"
Now in my heart I knew I could handle the acting. The singing however was another matter.
I spent two hours with my singing coach the week before, practicing the transition from my chest to my head voice. We worked out a marginally passable method of getting me up to the two or three notes that I needed that are, theoretically, 'out of my range'. It was a hard and humiliating slog. Add to this the fact that she is a very Aussie character with a nasty nasal accent. It was pretty screechy.
On the Saturday I made my way in for the group audition.
We met up at Central Ballroom Dancing studio, where the local, award winning ballroom dancers had been co-opted into auditioning and choreographing the show. The first thing they did was a demo. Watching them, I felt like a one legged orangutan with control issues. How was I going to 'follow'? How was I going to hold myself upright with that angle of the head????
Now I have always wondered about the bloody partner waltz. I mean I can waltz 'ballet style:'
But that whole random waltzing around a floor, propelled by a bloke who may, or may not, know what he's doing???? Anathema.
After a bit of minor confusion I got the hang of it. Forward together...wait....back side together. Repeat!
Sadly, having googled waltz and Viennese waltz, I can find nothing that remotely resembles what we were taught. I suspect I am not a natural!!!!!
ANYWAY, we all learned the little thing they taught us and we took turns with partners trying to reproduce the basic look of ballroom dancing. Methinks we may have a LOT of work to do.
Later that day I returned for my individual audition. I had dressed for the part and I was RIGHT in the zone!
When I got back to the studio, it wasn't long before they called me in. I decided to go in 'in character' from the outset.
"HULLO everyone. Now, I've GOT to saay. I'm not MUCH of a singer. I've been going to a little man but he's a bit opera in his approach and I'm much more Country and Western....."
Our WWRY director was watching me with a huge smile on his face. The other three people (who didn't know me) looked completely confused! When the pianist looked offended as I suggested she'd better play me an introduction I felt slightly guilty...but I decided to go with it. It wasn't too long before she realised what I was doing. :-D
Screechy notes aside. It must have worked because the next day I got the call to say I had won the part! My first really big character role here in Adelaide! I am SO excited!!!!!
We don't start rehearsals until April but I think I shall take up any ballroom dancing offers that are presented to me in order to develop my woeful skills. After I get back from the UK that is.
I'm off on Monday for 5 weeks. There is the small matter of my mother who is going downhill rapidly with Alzheimers but I hope to offset that with a skiing trip in January. Here's hoping the lurgy stays away so I am able to really enjoy it this time!
POST SCRIPT: got home to find I had not posted this! Further UK and skiing adventures to follow!