Working on Sweeney Todd

Earlier this year I agreed to take part in a musical theatre class.  I don’t find it easy to meet people in Tokyo and I thought that this would be a fun way of doing that.  I’m not sure that the class is fulfilling those goals but it’s certainly a challenge. It’s been a while since I did any stage work.  It would have been easier to have started in the chorus but I’m working on the role of Mrs. Lovett from Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.  She is quirky and sings fast paced songs that are very wordy.  The songs aren’t beautiful.  I have very few good melodies to sing, but they are witty.

I was a little concerned about her accent as she is from the East End of London.  But my American musical director doesn’t mind me using my own accent as he can’t easily differentiate between British and Irish accents.  (I know, I sound nothing like a Londoner).  Sweeney has the advantage in that he is from the East End.  I can sing in the accent, but I’m not comfortable speaking in it.  So my songs will have a flavour of the accent, as if someone from Belfast moved to London and picked up some of the glottal stops and vowel sounds from the people around them and maybe lost the letter “h”.

I have spent most of this afternoon practising for tomorrow’s rehearsal.  I’ve been singing to myself and an imaginary Sweeney while I pick imaginary insects off imaginary pies.  I’ve been using a real rolling pin as I actually want to hear the syncopation it provides when I’m singing, though I’m sure that neighbours aren’t keen on me blattering it off the table.  I’m concerned about the lines I have to speak as I don’t know if I can remember them.  I know I used to be able to learn a whole play but it seems harder now.  It’s probably not really though as it’s much easier to look back and remember performances than it is to remember the hours I put into learning the work in the first place.

I will go and practice!

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