Our guest blogger Sebastien Torka plays Italian fashion designer Alberto Beddini in the award-winning musical Top Hat, he blogs from behind the scenes of a typical day in theatreland!
Arriving at the theatre at 12.40pm, I go straight to my dressing room to find a piece of fruit left by my dear room mate, John Conroy. Today it’s a banana, sometimes it’s an easy-peeler (clementine)!!!!
Tracksuit and t-shirt on I head to the stage for a physical and vocal warmup with the rest of the company, not forgetting to take my two water bottles to fill at the cooler ready for the show. I get through a lot of water, especially in act 2!
One of the most important parts of the ‘getting ready’ process is ‘The Hair Taming’. Honestly, I’m not using too much hairspray!!!! But I am getting through a lot gel!!
It’s 2 o’clock and the show begins, here in Sheffield, but I’m only just putting on my costume as my first entrance on stage is twenty minutes into the performance. About now I start to get a little nervous and excited for what today’s performance will bring.
Funny, the little rituals we acquire along the way…I now check my pockets three times to make sure I’ve got my props! Even though I’ve never forgotten them!
My Act 1 done. The show seems more relaxed after the adrenalin of last night’s performance in yet another new space. Backstage traffic quickly becomes familiar and organised.
The matinee is over. In the final bow John and I both notice a man on the front row who’s the doppelganger of the writer Alan Bennet. The audience leave front of house, on a high, I go back to the dressing room, also on a high, to get changed and peel off my moustache. I don’t lose time because now I’ve worked up an appetite. So, it’s back to my digs (only a fifteen minute walk away from the theatre) for some food and phone calls to home. In a couple of hours time we’re going to be doing this all over again.
7.45pm and the show should start any minute now. I can hear the band warming up (no familiar tunes this time, just random notes and scales like something from Stockhausen) and the chatter of the audience which sounds like another full house.
I feel I need a bit of sugar this evening….in between Act 2 scenes I raid the sweet jar that’s kept at prompt corner.
2nd performance finished….People on their feet at the curtain call, that’s always a buzz. In the dressing room I fill my tiny wash basket with damp clothing. Some poor thing, has to deal with that lot!!
The day is over…well, almost, a quick pint in the pub might be in order!!
Top Hat opens at Birmingham Hippodrome on 10 March #BHtophat