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.
Originally part of the West End choreo, the spelling out Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious to the speedy tune is a sight to behold. But is it more than just random moves created by the choreographer. It is a version of theatrical sign language, designed to add enjoyment to all audiences, including those hearing impaired. This gestural language is not intended to be a verbatim signing of the letters, but one of artistic creativity that keeps the original integrity of the text along with the feeling of the moment. Between the rapid movements, hand choreography and dazzling colours on stage this number is a treat for all of the senses.
That (the photo below) is the view from the audience perspective. Up on stage this is a SUPER FAST, mobile tongue twister of a number that took so much endurance to make it look spontaneous and effortless. This energy packed piece had a ton of partner work and left us gasping for breath every time as we ran off stage, and in need of a chiropractic visit from all of the sharp head movements; but man, is it fun to perform.
The story goes that this fantastic expression may have been inspired by a nonsensical word the original Disney lyricists (the Sherman brothers) learned at summer camp. They remembered having a word that the adults didn’t know, and thought the Banks children should have one, too. In the show, Mary takes the children to a Pop-up Talking Shop on their street, and much to the owner’s chagrin, her ‘chatterbox’ customers have used up all of the conversations & words too; leaving only a handful of letters. The solution? Create new ones. When Michael Banks complains, Mrs. Corey scolds him, “Where do you think words come from in the first place – someone had to make them up!”
It leaves audiences wanting more and singing the tune into the intermission, and for the rest of the week. But it’s also such a fan classic favourite that it actually draws people to the theatre. On one of our days off I went to the park with one of the cast members and her young daughter. “Mrs. Banks” does not do this choreography in the show so I was showing her daughter the moves. A passerby with her 2 young girls stopped to see what we were doing, and I ended up spending the next 20 minutes teaching all 4 of them the moves. They enjoyed it so much they promised to come see the show in person; and I saw them at the bowl 2 days later. The power of words, music and movement!
That’s all for now folks! Until next time friends, stay classy and sassy.