It was Friday morning break when we gathered around the much-anticipated cast list under the archway, to see if we were in the main cast or the ensemble for the mystery production. I was pleased to see that I was in the main cast, however I wouldn’t know what I was or even the title of show until 7 o’clock that evening, when the 48 Hour challenge was due to start.
After school at 4:30pm we attended a quick drama workshop where we played some drama games and got to know each other better. At 5:30pm we went for tea and once we had finished our tea we could go back to our houses and chill for a bit before the big show was revealed. At around 6:50pm we all gathered in Big School and were counting down the minutes. You could smell the anticipation. At exactly 7pm Miss Bendelow revealed the show in the way of charades. She pointed at her dog (Poppy, who had also come along for the big reveal) and someone shouted ‘dog’ someone else ‘Poppy’ and then Jaylen quickly guessed ‘Mary Poppins.’ That was it – we were going to be performing Mary Poppins in exactly 48 hours! Scripts were distributed and we had a full cast read through. I landed the role of ensemble lead. I was very pleased.
On Saturday morning at 9 o’clock I arrived at school to start the main cast rehearsal. The director of the show, Noni, and the heads of crew departments had all been in since 8am making plans for the production. We started straight away, rehearsing different scenes with the main characters. Whenever you were not needed onstage there would always be something to be done; you could be getting measured for your costume, helping the crew to build the set, collecting props or learning your lines. Over the course of Saturday everyone was always busy doing something. When it got around to my scenes I tried my best to practise without my script as I only had a nerve wracking 24 hours left. As I was the Ensemble Lead I had numerous roles; I played a guard, a waiter, and Bob (a chimney sweep, who would be singing with Bert). On Saturday I had to learn a song, a dance, and all of my lines. In my opinion Saturday was very productive as we had most of the show blocked by the end of the day. That night I didn’t get home until about 10pm, however it was a really fun day.
When Sunday came around, it felt less than a day since we had got our scripts. I had spent all of Saturday night until about midnight trying to memorise my lines. On Sunday, it was a full cast rehearsal and show day! When I got to school at around 9am again I wasn’t surprised to see tired people as we had spent around 13 hours rehearsing the day before. Today was a case of practising dances, songs, scenes and having a full-dress rehearsal all before 7pm, not to mention trying to stay awake. We worked extremely hard that day helping make props, testing each other on our cues and lines and practising non-stop until brunch. After brunch we carried on rehearsing until around 4pm where we got into our costumes, had our character make-up applied and ran a dress rehearsal. We started the dress rehearsal at around 4pm and didn’t finish until around 5:45pm which ran over by about 45 minutes. We all rushed into tea in our costumes and had to be back for 6:00pm to run the curtain call and to go through any scenes that needed polishing. We had half an hour until the show and panic was starting to set in.
We all wished each other good luck before the show, and it began. I was extremely nervous as I had the opening lines in the show. I was worried about forgetting my lines but luckily I didn’t. The whole show ran very smoothly apart from a few set glitches and – miraculously – only a couple of forgotten lines. In my opinion I think the show went really well, especially considering we only had 48 hours!
By Myles Davies (Year 9)