Monday, 23 February 2015

Guest Blog: Bring It On The Musical rehearsal diary (Part 3)

Sarah Flinton
It's half term around the country, all across England kids are celebrating a week off school, but we're in the studio still trying to perfect our toe touches. As much as we all probably need some time off, there's something about this show that makes us not care that everyone else is on holiday...

This week has been a busy one, starting with the entire cast trying on costumes. Finally we got to see what both Jackson and Truman's cheer uniforms were. Given none of us have ever done any cheerleading before you can imagine how excited we all were, there will probably be tears when we have to take off those uniforms for the last time on 7th March.

Now that we know our costumes will look like real cheerleaders, we had to make sure our stunts and routines were up to scratch. The Broadway version had the advantage of hiring actual professional cheerleaders who've been basket tossing since they could crawl. So we spent over 6 hours running the cheers and going over lifts, god only knows how the boys are surviving 6 hours of consecutively lifting us girls! 

With the show blocked through it was time to get up close and personal with the script. This show is definitely a comedy; but we all know how different American humour is to English humour. So we have to deal with a script that was written to entertain the average American, not the average Surrey local. Not to mention the fact that not a single one of our secondary schools had a cheerleading squad. We don't talk about who's going to get elected at lunch, or who will be the sophomore spirit leader, none of us have ever stepped foot in a cheer camp, let alone held the 'spirit stick' and let’s face it... even a British prom has got nothing on an American prom. But at least we are roughly the right age and have grown up watching the 'Bring It On' films and the other all American films that are similar. 

The cast of Bring It On  in rehearsals
However it is so easy to simply portray a stereotype of these American teenagers. We have the task of making the characters real, portraying the humour and keeping everything natural. We could just make the show into one big pantomime and have the mean bitchy cheerleaders face off against the hip rapping cool kids. 

But where would be the realism in that? Don't get me wrong, there are lots of people who love a good cheesy show, and yes this show has cheesy moments, but the characters are real, and their struggles are what moves the story forward. We wouldn't really care a great deal about Campbell if she didn't have to fight hard to get what she wants. 

The acting process has definitely taken a long time, and nobody in the cast can say that they are one hundred percent happy with everything yet. There have been scenes we've had to do over and over again but slowly everything’s coming together. Every single line in the show is being looked at and scrutinised, if the intonation was slightly wrong then the line is re-said and re-said until it’s right for that actor. Even going from a general American to a laid back Californian accent is another thing to add on top of everything already going on in this show. 

This show is certainly a big ask for any company, and as the week drew to a close we officially performed the first ever studio run of Bring It On the Musical in England. Of course things went wrong but we've finally made it... we can finally run the show. Who would have thought back on day one when none of us could do a single stunt or knew who the Buccaneers were that we would actually be able to run this crazy show? Now next week brings more run throughs, more notes and we are getting closer and closer to tech week. The show is nearly sold out on most nights, so now the pressure really is on!

Sarah Flinton 

Bring It On The Musical is staged at the Electric Theatre in Guildford between 5th and 7th March 2015.

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