It’s truly very hard to talk about this year’s production, not because there is nothing to say, but because there is so much.
Guys and Dolls started off for me as it did for many others, with an audition in front of people I barely knew, who would soon become guiding lights over the next two terms. Martin Howells and Helen Moran, our director and assistant director respectively, seemed scary to begin with. They had a very clear vision of what they wanted to see on stage and they knew how to get it. Working with such experienced theatre people was very exciting for many of the cast and crew, myself included. Martin and Helen were supportive and conscientious throughout the production and they have given us all a chance to see what professional theatre is like. I will make no bones about it, they demanded a lot from us, as for many of us this was our first time in a proper production. But they were there every step of the way to make sure we were doing the best we could and giving one hundred percent energy each day. I truly believe that their guidance made the play as well oiled and sharp as it was.
Of course, the production was not all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, it was a lot of work. From midway through term one and all the way through to the final week for production, there were after-school rehearsals, as well as chorus meetings every Tuesday, both breaks. Ms Bidwell, Mrs Webb and Miss Hamilton worked tirelessly to organise the chorus, the band, the dancers and the many other separately moving parts, as well as sewing each piece together during the final week of shows and dress rehearsals. Their work and commitment constantly astonished me, and Guys and Dolls wouldn’t be even half the show it was without them. The backstage crew had their work cut out for them, organising and placing each set piece (beautifully designed and created by the awesome Ms Goldstein) carefully on stage, and they did amazing work. Our props were once again efficiently organised by Mrs Young and the makeup crew, run by Ms Graham, worked tirelessly before each show to make sure that everyone was ready for the production. There is an endless list of people I could name who worked hard and deserve every piece for praise I can give, and I hope that each one knows exactly how valued they were.
Of course, there is one group, in particular, I made a strong bond with. Over the many months of practices, I made the strongest connections with the main cast and with my fellow chorus members. Practices were often long and intensive, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. They were never boring or all that stressful because the entire cast and crew acted as a family to one another. There was nothing but unerring and total support from all sides and that was really something special. Perhaps my favourite part of that connection was being able to walk around school and suddenly see a whole bunch of friendly faces, people who I respected and trusted. There is nothing in the world quite like it, and I know that many of us will treasure those friendships and connections. These new friends made this production infinitely more enjoyable, from the many jokes and silliness backstage or the real team feeling we generated on stage, the chorus and crew pushed his production from a simple stage show to a real and tangible experience. It is because of them that I will never be able to get Bushel and a Peck out of my head, and I am grateful for that.
Unfortunately for the year thirteens, like myself, and the year twelves, this will be their last school production. But Guys and Dolls was not only a production for me, but an emotional journey and a chance to grow closer with friends and to form new friendships, and I’m sure many others will feel the same. This production will be one of the fondest memories I will look back on after school, I couldn’t have wished for a better cast and crew. All the work and dedication they put in really shows and they should all be proud of one another.
Alice Hodges, Y13