Ever wondered what goes on at a Showstopper rehearsal? How you go about practicing for a show that hasn’t even been written yet? Well look no further! Showstopper Susan Harrison is here to tell us more:
The Summer is over (which for us translates as “The Edinburgh Fringe is over”) so it’s back to rehearsals for us. Occasionally conspiracy theorists ask us what we do in rehearsals, perhaps imagining us learning lines for 47,000 possible outcomes of what might happen in a show, deciding who should play which role in each of the tour dates depending on the myriad of locations that come up and of course deciding who should wear which hat!
In fact the word rehearsal is a bit misleading, given that we have no scripts, plots or songs to rehearse. “Workshop” is probably a more accurate description. We play improvisation games that help us to become better listeners and we constantly recap our improvisation skills of accepting each other’s ideas and building on them in a way that best serves the story. We usually start the session by stretching (physically) followed by some vocal warm ups and then we get started. We’ll often focus on improvising scenes for half of the time and then focus on improvising songs for the rest of the time. Lately we’ve been working on improvising dance and movement more too with Ali James (our dance captain) taking us through different styles of movement that come up in musical theatre and showing how to use our non dance trained bodies to the best of our abilities! It’s sweaty work but a lot of fun. When a new musical comes up we will listen to it or go to see it in our own time and then in rehearsals we might play a snippet to remind people of it or (in the case of Hamilton when it first came out) just all gush about how great it is.
Essentially, we workshop our skills and play as many games and exercises as we can to become an ensemble that is as in sync with each other as possible. We are always aiming to be more connected on stage. The next step is telepathy. “What a frightening thought”, shhh Pippa! “Actually it was me who thought that” Oh sorry Sean, “Hey! That was me, I sound nothing like Sean!” Oops, apologies Heather. Clearly our telepathy skills needs some fine tuning…