“Footloose”: Production 2006
Just quietly, I’m quite proud of this year’s production. For once, the starkingly international "perfect public school" lived up to its reputation on the auditorium stage. It had its ups and downs, its strong and weak links (*cough*), but ultimately, everyone delivered in their own way.
This year’s, you see, was not destined for failure like last year’s was, with its ill-targeted audience, or the year before’s with its excessive cuts. (Interestingly, it was rated "PG", due to language.) While the staff and performers involved made it happen, a significant portion of this year’s success could be attributed to a decent selection and the publisher’s analness. They would not let significant portions of it be cut, so every song was sung, and the entire story was told. This, admittedly, came at a signficant price: the copyright conditions are so harsh that the production could not be filmed so that the cast and band could see it in its completion afterwards, and all copies of everything to do with it must be destroyed immediately after its completion. But the production is so unforgettable, even from the orchestral pit where we really couldn’t see anything and so we had no idea of what just happened on stage when a visual joke was done, that it doesn’t matter.
It may be a small cliché, but the last night was undoubtedly the best night. It was possible to measure this on more than the least number of screw-ups; it had energy beyond the previous nights. The second night, however, was a disappointment. What happened is unclear — my figuring is that something happened to the first number which set spirits down for the rest of it, though without pointing at anyone, perhaps the microphones’ malfunctioning had a small part.
It seems that the cast, crew, chorus and band really are truly separate factions. Battles erupt every so often, though without pointing at anyone, most of them seemed to involve speakers or microphones.
The orchestral pit (together with the copyright infringements) prevented the band from seeing the events on stage. This, in a way, defeated about one-third of my purpose for being in the band, but then again, orchestras and bands traditionally aren’t meant to see or be seen. During a six-bar riff involving a busy rhythm on the triangle, I managed to miss the triangle (yes, miss it completely), and then it got caught on the triangle on the way back up. That, however, is not as embarassing as missing a cowbell altogether — a much larger target than the triangle — on the second night. I guess it could’ve been worse… I could’ve missed the trash can. (Yes, there is such thing as a percussion instrument called the "trash can".)
I could go on about which songs my favourites were, but I’m sensing that at this point no-one’s really reading anymore. (My favourite one to play was "Let’s Hear It for the Boy"; the best sung was undoubtedly "Almost Paradise", though I liked "Mama Says" even if it was a bit cliché in places.)
In short, the 2006 production was a brilliant work, and it was heaps of fun. Even if it drew three days to fourteen-and-a-half hours (taking into account morning sports practices which, incidentally, some people didn’t turn up to), it was well worth it.