‘Guys and Dolls’ is over. Nine moths of preparation squished into three nights. There is always an odd feeling after a show is completed that I find difficult to express; it should be a massive relief – I have my time back, the chance to finish my coursework, and to begin the mountain of essays all seemingly due for the same date which now occupy my time. However, there’s something about the fear and adrenaline of an imminent show that is so thrilling to me, that now it’s gone there’s just a little bullet hole left.
Obviously it is easy to look back at something fondly, and I do remember finding myself saying many times, ‘I just want to get this over with’, but I would carry on for nights on end if someone gave me the chance now. There was definitely a much deeper sense of accomplishment for me in this production than any other I have done. I was completely out of my territory at the beginning due to a massive phobia of singing in public (having to audition three times because you kept crying is not fun, I promise), and to be honest I still have this fear. But at the risk of sounding crazy, I wasn’t singing, Adelaide was. In rehearsal I would not be able to sing before putting on that crazy grin and opening my palms (think white trash girl who had just had fresh acrylic nails put on), otherwise I just couldn’t make a sound. Getting over this was difficult, as I sensed the frustration in all the music teachers after yet another rehearsal where I stared at them blankly, with my internal monologue screaming ‘I act, I can’t sing, get used to it!’
Well, I got there in the end.
Becoming Adelaide was an interesting process to reflect on. After getting this role, my first reaction was of course, YouTube. Watch as many adaptations as possible, figure out the tropes, learn the accent, establish the relationships with the other characters, decide what she thinks of herself. Whereas in a Christmas Carol some bright sparks out there may have guessed I was only inspired by the jolly Brian Blessed as the Ghost of Christmas Present, I had to make Adelaide mine. The mental block I had needed to be completely ignored, as in many respects Adelaide was the polar opposite of myself. She thought she could sing, she thought she was the most stunning thing to walk on two legs, she thought Nathan would do anything for her, she was the epitome of confidence, and that probably made it easier for me, as I could create her as a completely new person, without a trace of me left.
Creating a character is all about trial and error; how does she react, how does she hold herself, how does she think? You cannot create a convincing person without understanding every part of them. We all have friends that we know inside out, you know if you tell them the events of a party the face they will pull, or that when they crack their neck they really have something troubling them, or they will know when you need help but don’t want to ask, and this is the kind of relationship I needed to imagine before fully immersing myself into the character. Yes, this may sound like split personality disorder, but I needed to figure out what Adelaide’s reaction was to everything before I could begin properly rehearsing.
So in this way, ending the show was like saying goodbye to a friend.
I will never be Adelaide again, and so everything I learnt about her is still here but I have nothing to do with it, I can’t run up to someone saying ‘when are we going to get married!?’ No, that’s how you end up in a psych ward. But I do miss it. I miss making people laugh, and I miss stifling the laugh when hearing one deep giggle in the audience. I miss the hugs from Georgia backstage after my solo, and I miss laughing when I had a quick change as all the male members of cast suddenly disappear as we tried and struggled to not destroy my headset, hair or makeup. I miss getting frustrated when I had to make up a line because my cue was not said, and I miss dance rehearsals even though I was often having a terrible Thursday.
I hope it was all worth it, and I hope it was enjoyable, and I hope I did the play justice.
I’ll miss you, Adelaide.