Backstage at CCPA is our behind-the-scenes blog. Contributors are students, faculty, and members of our community.
Joscelyne Tamburri tells us about her experiences as a Year II student, from the classroom to the stage.
As we edge closer and closer to opening night I am constantly amazed to see the words on the page (script) come to life before me. Live theatre is always magical, but this show is packed to the rafters with sleight of hand, hidden tricks and a whole lot of whimsy. At the risk of a few spoiler alerts, you can’t help being in awe, even behind the scenes, at the magic that takes place on stage.
Our enchanted kitchen – at the snap of her fingers and a wave of a hand, the unintentional destruction the cook’s kitchen is all made right again. Tables split and then right themselves, iced cakes instantly appear, plates fall off of a broken cabinet, only to pick themselves up. And part of the fix is a quick sip of Mary’s special tonic, which seems to align itself to the favourite flavors of each taster.
Stone statues seemingly come to life in the park – Hats off to our 4 cast members who had to hold their breath and not move a muscle for what seemed like hours I’m sure; all the while being eaten alive by the nightly mosquitoes and fried by the stage lighting. Then with a rumble of crumbling rock (thanks to the sound effects team) they spring to life – thank goodness – and start dancing around the stage. It really does catch you off guard. A fun little tid bit- Jane & Michael play with the statue of Neleus, who is separated from his father Poseidon, the King of the Sea. This is just one of the underlying subplots in the show; this one alluding to Michaels desires to be closer to his own father, Mr. Banks.
The House of many layers – The Banks’ home on Cherry Tree lane is a marvel of reversible panels, hidden buttons, and pop-out props. The set designers really outdid themselves here as this 360 degree set piece folds in on itself and rotates to show almost every room in the house; nursery, living and dining rooms, kitchen and street front, all in one tidy box. And it only takes 4 cast members to drive it around stage throughout the night. Who needs to go to the gym when you push a house up, down and around a stage for 2-1/2 hours every other night?
From the children’s nanny advertisement burning in the fireplace, melting Nannies in the foyer, the fireworks in the sky at the end of the show, the illusions and special effects are spectacular, but the all-time favourite tricks of both the people on and of stage is Mary flying and her magic bag. This has been a staple in one form or another of all stage productions. The harness and pulley system is a right of passage and takes lots of practice to get it just right; and Mary’s usually go to a special flying studio early into rehearsal to learn this resume worthy skill. It was so magical seeing it for the first time, but flying is a serious business which requires pre-show checks and flying tests every night.
If you have the chance to watch this show more than once, take a moment to watch the audiences (young and old) reactions when Mary pulls out one giant item after another from this seemingly bottomless (well maybe not seemingly) bag. And then listen to the oohs and awes as Mary takes flight to the skies, the cheers when she returns and finally the sobs as she rises once again – signaling the show is almost over.
While the audience rises to it’s feet to celebrate the actors and musicians on stage, there certainly wouldn’t be a show without the talents of all of those behind the scenes who made it possible for the 2-1/2 hour fantasy. Bravo to them all.
Until next time friends, stay classy and sassy.