In today’s session, Lynn called a full hour rehearsal with everyone involved in ‘Bring on the Men’ as I am no longer taking part in this piece, I was present to take notes and feedback to the group any areas that I felt could be improved alongside Lynn and Sarah’s judgement.
Below is a witness statement recorded by Lynn as we were unable to do our idents:
“Witness statement 18th May 2017
Rehearsal for ‘Bring on the Men’ song/dance number for ‘Saints and Sinners’
1.15 – 2.30 Room EO44
Dancers: Chloe Gilbert, Zoe Mills, Faye Radford, Vicky Wilson, Jess Last, Sophia Lerigo
Waitresses: Beth Easdown, Emma Croft, Sian Davis
Assistant: Daytona Florian
Staff: Sarah Berrington, Lynn Whitehead
The first run through was slightly chaotic – no-one was quite ready to concentrate and it fell apart slightly. Daytona gave some notes about timing of the singing and open-positioning of the dancers’ chairs.
Then the group ran through just to listen to the track as the timing is quite difficult. At this first run- through Jess and Faye backed Emma singing on the first verse and Beth kept time on the most difficult part of the song as it’s a pre-recorded backing track with several rallentando and accelerando sections.
Before the second run through, Zoe and Chloe and a couple of the others went to collect the dance skirts which everyone felt would help the characterisation of the dancers. Meanwhile Emma, Beth and Sian worked on the singing of the opening of the verses. Daytona went to fetch the completed scripts to give out.
Staff gave some notes about characterisation – the waitresses needed to react to each other as they sang their separate parts and the dancers needed to let their faces show character as well as their movements. There was discussion about what the attitude of the whole group should be towards the other characters on stage (for example the ‘Posh’ boys’ group) and how that could be expressed. Sarah talked quickly through the dance moves in order to clarify some things that were still unsure:- a cross-over point that only Chloe had remembered and a section for Jess as she had missed an earlier rehearsal.
The timing was much more accurate on this run.
On the third run, Emma sang solo and pitched well on her verse so felt confident to do it without back up. We talked briefly about ‘talk-singing’ the first phrases and tried it out, but Emma preferred to go for singing it. Sian tripped up on a couple of the words for her verse but found herself back quickly and on time. Beth stomped out the tricky timing to bring everyone in on time.
The dancing was more character driven and it made the piece more confident and interesting to watch. Vicky and Sophia could both do a little more to look like they’re teasing the audience and enjoying it which will ensure that any glitches on timing are not the most noticeable thing.
The dancers sorted out the positioning of their feet in the leaning-line close to the end of the song and everyone sang out boldly on the final note.
Lynn suggested that Beth should actually clap out the difficult rhythm ‘flamenco’ style to help the group keep together”
Having worked with Emma the day before on the vocals of the song, I was confident that the overall piece would look and sound much stronger. After a discussion I had with the dancers, who all expressed that without Emma’s timing being accurate, it was difficult for them to dance correctly, I felt that addressing this issue was key, Emma and I worked for many hours to perfect the timing which was another reason I felt confident that the piece would look better.
Initially, I was a little worried when Emma began singing as she started to go a little out of time with the song, however, she quickly regained this well and the dancers seemed much more comfortable dancing to the timing rather than having confused expressions on their faces, which in turn affected the performance that they were giving. Personally, I am extremely pleased with Emma’s progress and it was evident to see in the overall outcome that the piece flowed together much more smoothly and had a united feel to it, which is what the aim was.
A few notes I picked up on when watching the run through were that Jess was a little unsure of what she was doing at times (due to being away for Bonnie and Clyde rehearsals) although I had every faith that she would pick things up quickly after the rehearsal as I know she is able to do so having worked alongside her over the past 2 years. Other things I picked up on were the placement of the chairs at the beginning of the number, it was clear to see that they are meant to be in a triangular formation, however on the left hand side the chairs were far too inwards which blocked the waitress’ who are singing at the back. Also, the dancers needed to use much more of their face to tell the story of the piece as they looked so concentrated on getting the dance steps right that they forgot to actually perform, maybe due to a lack of rehearsal? Emm at times got some of the lyrics wrong which was fairly noticeable when singing in unison with Sian and Beth, many a time she would sing “They say bring on the men” when it should be “we say bring on the men” – When calling Emma up on this she seemed rather defensive however agreed to go through the song lyrics with Sian and Beth.
Overall, the piece looks much more stronger, there are still a few minor issues with the timing and aesthetics however these can easily be ironed out in time for the show. The next steps now would be for the girls to all meet and rehearse together to unite the piece a little more between the dancers and the singers. However, I am extremely pleased with the progress of the piece and feel it could be a fantastic and enjoyable number in the show.