That Triple-Threat Thing

Street Banners Cabaret
Image by Dramagirl via Flickr

Sing, dance, and act … if you can do these equally well, you’re a triple threat according to show biz jargon. Well I’ve long known I’m an actor first and foremost. I love music and singing and always have. We’ll pass over the dance part. So here I am in a singing role in Cabaret (Fraulein Schneider) with a modicum of dancing.

Last night I spent an hour with the choreographer and my scene partner working on a dance sequence, which is testing the triple part of the job: dancing, singing and acting at one and the same time. It’s an exercise in discipline … motivate, move, breathe and all in strict tempo and on pitch. I was reminded of some of the training work I did years ago in beijing opera (jingju) where the freedom often afforded and treasured by modern western acting style is conditioned and honed by a strict adherence to the performance traditions of the Chinese form. Demanding is not the word when it comes to prepping for jingju or for that matter a lot of traditional theatre forms. Shaping up to the insistence of tradition is good for the modern performer’s soul and feet! And it’s also good for me, a trainer of actors to get back into the saddle and to try to ride as well as I ask them to.

PS: I had the first tingles in the fingers a couple of nights back. This is my signal that the performance is just round the corner … as is that first run on Sunday.


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