Every couple of weeks I’ll blog about the Harlequin production of Avenue Q and how I’m coping with everything that’s thrown at me.
Well it’s been thirteen years since I stepped on stage performing as anyone else in a play or musical – and it’s been nerve wracking to say the least. You’re surrounded by a group of seasoned thespians who perform in local productions all the time which is great in terms of support, but daunting for an effective newbie. Everyone seems really nice and welcoming but you can’t help but feel like the odd one out when they are all in shows together – I’m sure a wee social event or two will put that right though 😉
For those that don’t know my background I have been the frontman in a function band for the best part of twenty years across the North East of Scotland playing weddings, charity balls, parties and corporate events. I am literally “The Wedding Singer” and have enjoyed it but last year we took a break to give us all a chance to do other things and take the weekends back for the first time in ages. With two young kids I thought that you never get that time back so I’m enjoying being there and reasonably awake on Saturdays and Sundays.
I saw earlier this year that Stuart had chosen “Avenue Q” as the next big project and having seen it at HMT last year I wondered if this was my chance to do something different and challenge myself. I’m not someone who gets that nervous whether playing in front of twenty people or twenty thousand I am confident that I know what I’m doing, if anything it’s the adrenaline that keeps you going. The audition was horrible, not because of the people involved, but due to me being miles out of my comfort zone. Somehow I got through those nerves and managed to get the part of “Nicky” and now there’s no turning back.
So the big challenges lie in memorizing the words (which is a real weakness!), learning the songs, blocking the scenes and then doing it all again with the puppets – seriously? Think this challenge might be a lot bigger than I originally thought, but then where’s the fun in easy. The first thing that strikes me as different is the music. Craig our MD is a great musician and actually played with us in the band on a few gigs but taking direction is new as I was always in charge of choosing the music and driving that on. Because you are not the one calling the shots you find very quickly that your confidence disappears immediately and you rarely hit the right harmony note. I am so used to doing by ear rather than through the dots it’s taking longer than it should to adapt.
This is a huge task and over the coming months I hope that things will start to fall into place for me for the sake of everyone else involved. Strap yourself in JD this is going to be interesting.