8 October 2017
This week we take a look behind the scenes of the Savoyards production, The Producers. It was fantastic to experience the friendliness and camaraderie of the cast and crew.
Now, confession time for me, I haven’t attended a performance by Savoyards before, and can only say that I had seen their signs, and knew that they were a local amateur theatre. My experience blew me away with the professionalism of the group, and I am very thankful that Sherryl-Lee showed me around, behind the curtain if you will.
It really struck me how much of a community feel, and more so a family feel that this group had. There were many relatives amongst the cast, crew and supporting team. My guide, Sherryl-Lee, was behind the scenes soon after she was born, with her mum treading the boards in the 1960’s. I heard that marriages have come out of the relationships formed within the group.
We first had a look at the stage around an hour before the show starts.
quite the roll call
so many marks on the stage
pre show discussion
sets getting moved in readiness for the performance
in joke with the cast
This play’s premise is based on producing a play that is so bad that it will be a flop. The play selected was “Springtime for Hitler“. Whilst I did recall this fact, it was still a reflex for me to double take when I first saw the Nazi banners and costumes. I did hear on the day about having multiple browser windows open researching various Nazi information could be a red flag if someone else happened to view your screen.
radio microphones charged and at the ready
each of the cast getting their specific mic for the show
So much support backstage!
I was then allowed into the dressing rooms to see the cast getting ready for the show. They were all so lovely and welcoming and having a lot of fun together. I was able to share a pre-show drink in the male changing room, which was very generous, and really set the tone that continued with the openness and friendliness in which I was received.
Into the male dressing room, where there was lots of singing and fun conversation.
Apparently, there is a ceremony just before curtain time with the rod below, by the male cast members. I didn’t witness, but I love that the tradition is carried through from show to show.
This staff has every show performed since 2002
I then headed up to the catwalk with the lighting rigs and a couple of the “follow spots” are operated.
The orchestra pit just in front of the stage
follow spots nest
It was a great perspective of the theatre from the catwalk
It was then off to the lighting and sound area, where I met the crew having a catchup before show time. I was fascinated when talking with Allan how the lighting and sound come together in design, setup and during the performance. So much so, that time got away and I heard the call that the audience will be coming in, in a couple of minutes.
View of the stage from the lighting desk
The lighting control was incredible!
Each mic is tested preshow, some funny interpretations of songs were done
Sound desk crew checking each of the mic’s
Best seat in the house
A lot of tech used, I kept saying to myself amateur theatre? No way!
looking back to the sound and lighting crew
My final stop on my tour was to the orchestra pit. The theme continued with the friendly welcome and community feel, and I enjoyed watching the various musicians warming up, and chatting with their peers. I loved being able to visit, as I always knew there were the musicians in front, but lower then the stage in these productions, but to see the setup, and the economy of space used, whilst producing the incredible quality of sound that I heard a little later was fantastic.
The audience started to roll in, and due to copyright, I wasn’t able to take photos of the performance, but it was so good. It was great to see the acting, singing, dancing interspersed with some funny moments that gave great life to Mel Brooks’ play.
I must say that I was disappointed in myself that I hadn’t seen a Savoyard production before, but I now won’t have any hesitation in buying season tickets for 2018 as soon as they are available (next month), and with Les Misérables and Chicago the productions for next year, I can’t wait to see such quality productions, in our community.
I am hopeful of being invited back, to see the early stages of one of the shows next year, from the set design, prop construction and costume making.
More details about Savoyards can be found at their website and facebook pages below.