16th August

YMTS’s journey Into the Woods is now over and what a journey it has been! The hard work and sometimes stressful moments have all been worthwhile as it all helped to produce such a wonderful production that everyone can be proud of.

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Ali sums up his thoughts about our final show.

As rehearsals progressed old friendships were resumed, made stronger and new ones were also made. Performing with people who you have some sort of bond with really does make the whole experience more enjoyable. 

 

Great tweet from an audience member.
Great tweet from an audience member.

It’s been a great run and we have had terrific feedback. Both shows yesterday went incredibly well. Our closing show was simply fantastic, everyone gave our final performance of this wonderfully complex and challenging production their all. We had a completely sold out audience for our final performance – people were queuing at the box office to try and get tickets on reserve. Last night’s audience picked up on every single pun there is; they cheered enthusiastically after numbers, whistled and stood with fervour at the end. 

The "Into the Woods" cast with director Amanda before their final two shows.
The “Into the Woods” cast with director Amanda before their final two shows.

I would like to thank everyone who made this possible: our production team, the orchestra and those working offstage on lighting and sound and our chaperones. To YMTS choreographer Julieann, thanks for taking the time to come to a few of our rehearsals to choreograph certain numbers.

A special mention has to be given to three special people: Amanda, Alan and Jane. What a trio.

Jane, thank you for putting in heaps of effort to give us such awesome costumes, they were so incredible and your creative talent shone through. The costumes contributed to the realisation of a fairy-tale world and looked great on stage. They also helped everyone really get into character. You were also always there backstage to quickly sew up a tear or help to tighten a corset in a flash. 

Alan, this is one of the hardest pieces of musical theatre that any of us has had to sing. In Into the Woods the music is bound up with the telling of the story. It’s so technically difficult and you were there to help us along the way – even if at times we drove you crazy. Even better, during the shows you did a fantastic job of following us, an extra challenge considering the band were placed behind the set. You did all this whilst playing yourself and conducting the orchestra. You are truly talented and you’re hard work is appreciated. 

Amanda, thank you! You created such a dynamic and vibrant production of this musical. You directed us (and put up with us), created an innovative set, designed the lighting for the show and so much more. This was your chance to bring your vision of this show to life and you worked incredibly hard to do so. I am so glad that you gave me the opportunity to play a role such as the Baker’s Wife in a musical that I have wanted to perform in for a very long time and I know that so many of the other cast members share my sentiments. I hope we did your vision of the show justice and made you proud of your cast!

As the Into the Woods project is now over my blog is now coming to an end too. I have thoroughly enjoyed documenting this YMTS Fringe project for 2015. “Moments in the Woods” is something I will be able to look back on and re-read to remind myself what this project has meant to me. Perhaps others in the cast will do the same. 

Thanks for reading. 

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist. 


14th August

We have reached the halfway point of our run of “Into the Woods”. We have had our first double show day which has presented a new challenge, it’s a full day of performing that requires focus throughout. 

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Little Red is always munching.

Today’s matinee went well and as I write this we are in the midst of Act 1 of our fourth performance. We have had our first double show day, which has provided a new challenge – it’s a full day of performing that requires focus throughout. Tonight is also the last performance for some of the cast members in their role, so I hope they enjoy every moment.

Baker's Wife needs to brush up on her mothering skills.
Someone  needs to brush up on her mothering skills.

I’ve also included some more moments from today’s matinee.

She's looking for dates.
She’s looking for dates.

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


13th August

Opening night was a huge success!

After three extremely demanding (and often stressful) days of rehearsals, which included two consecutive dress runs yesterday before the show opened, the “Into the Woods” cast pulled it out the bag. Cast members performances may have been good but the unique energy that opening night brings transformed them. There was a buzz both backstage and onstage as the evening progressed and people felt that we were definitely doing something right.

The set, costume and lighting created a vibrant visual backdrop for the performance. The tech team (including sound of course) have been working so hard to follow such a complex piece and are doing an incredible job.

We had a fantastic and receptive audience in last night as well; something that undoubtedly lifts any performance. There were hardly any empty seats in the house and to receive a standing ovation for our opening performance was wonderful and an indication that the night was a success. 

We have five shows left. If the cast can approach each one with the same level (or more!) of energy and commitment we are sure to have a brilliant run. I am looking forward to our second show tonight. For the roles that have been double cast, several cast members will have their first show as their respective characters.

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Picture 1) Mother/daughter bonding. Picture 2) Jack’s mum sold the cow for a chicken wrap. Picture 3) The Witch is needy and asks for any spare change.

Get your tickets soon because as our Cinderella says, “opportunity is not a lengthy visitor”

If you haven’t caught any of the YMTS snapchat story, here are some of the moments that our backstage helper Joe Kinnear caught on camera.

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Picture 1) The Baker’s Wife and Cinderella’s Prince bring their love affair backstage. Picture 2) Cinders targets Rapunzel’s twins in an act of rivalry. Picture 3) Jane and Joe celebrating the end of our first show!

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist.


5th August

Yesterday morning the cast set off early on the train to Edinburgh for our first rehearsal in the Edinburgh Academy. Even though the majority of the cast have performed in the venue before, there was still a slight challenge in (re)familiarising ourselves with the space and adapting the blocking and positioning. The show opens in one week and we still have several days in the venue before then to tidy up the blocking and, of course, have our dress rehearsal. 

The set was gradually being built around us as the day went on. As it did we began to see what Amanda had described to us taking shape. It should be fully constructed by the time we return to Edinburgh next Monday. 

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Visions coming to life.

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist. 


 

3rd August

Today I popped along to the Arts Hub, the YMTS base, and had a chat with Jane Rigby our wardrobe mistress extraordinaire who works incredibly hard behind the scenes to make the cast look fantastic on stage. Costumes can add so much to any production – let’s be honest, a bunch of people performing Into the Woods in black jeans and t-shirts would not have a spellbinding effect on the audience. The topsy-turvy fairytale world that the characters inhabit deserves to be brought to life and it’s no surprise that this is what Jane is striving to do. What I saw in the Hub today has got me very excited and I think a musical like Into the Woods serves her creative flare very well.

Let’s see what Jane herself had to say.

Emma: What I wanted to ask you first is where you might have gathered inspiration from for the costumes? Has it been from any other Into the Woods productions?

Jane: Probably a combination of all main productions: the Broadway original, the Disney Film from earlier this year and the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production.

Emma: Well I saw the jacket that you got the Stepsisters to try on and that reminded me of the outdoor production at Regent’s Park.

Jane: We are definitely going for a steampunk* idea with them and, in fact, we are carrying that theme all the way through with little bits of costume; everyone will have something that’s not quite what they should be wearing within the Victorian era. I think that’s quite quirky.

Emma: You put a lot of effort into the costumes for YMTS. I want everyone to be aware of how hard you work. How much of your time does it take to piece together and/or make the costumes?

Jane: For me, I would say if you averaged out the hours that I did, because some days I’ll work more than others, I probably will have done a 15 hour day.

(Bow down)

Jane: A 15 hour day within the space of time that I have to get all the costumes together. But also, Amanda knows that if things aren’t there for the first dress rehearsal she knows that they’ll be ready for opening night. I can work quickly but it’s also all about being prepared – I’ve literally got everything cut, ready to sew and I can basically sit here (in the Hub) and do that at a fast pace. It’s actually the little stuff that takes the most time. It’s the time spent getting garments together, outfits together, things that will suit a person and their character and things that won’t suit. Also an idea that you originally had probably won’t look that brilliant so you’ll need to change it and that’s fine because you’ve got to be flexible. And things evolve, ideas evolve and I love that. For instance, the Wolf: we are doing quite a different Wolf from the last YMTS production of the show – but it’s still quite quirky and fun. Because Jacob and Morgan are both playing another part within the show we can’t do face painting or much in that respect like last time, so that has given me an extra challenge. For this production we’ve gone for the “less is more” approach – we are giving them a hint of the wolf rather than transforming them into a full wolf. 

Emma: I can see how that will work, particularly with the Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf split.

Jane: Yes

Emma: Because they were originally portrayed by the same actor anyway.

Emma: I know that you won’t have completed all the costumes yet but do you have a favourite so far?

Jane: I really like The Wolf. But I really wanted to have more time to spend on doing the Stepsisters and make them quite unusual. I liked what they wore in the film, I thought they were some of the best costumes in it. I have used that for inspiration and I am kind of going down the same route as the film for them; they’re going to be coming on with the tights, bloomers, petticoats and corsets and then all the other parts of their costume will be added on top. Then throughout the production they will lose or gain certain aspects of their costume – like a fur collar or something. 

Emma: I like that.

Jane: I would say they and The Wolf are my favourite… Although, no, I tell a lie – I also think Little Red looks pretty good.

*Side note: I had to google “steampunk”. 

It was great hearing what Jane and how she has conceptualised the costumes. She also let me dress some mannequins so I can give you all a small taster of what she has been working on…

Who could these costumes be for?
Who could these costumes be for?

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist


 

2nd August

Last night the “Into the Woods” cast joined the orchestra for a sitzprobe. As always, it was exciting to hear the band for the first time; but to get a sense of how Sondheim’s wonderfully complex score is meant to sound and come to life was a real treat. Even with several players missing it still sounded fantastic and I can’t wait until the full orchestra comes together.

What an impressive sound they made.
What an impressive sound they made.

 

Even though this sort of rehearsal is mainly for the sake of the band, it is also really beneficial for the cast. How the score will sound as played by a seventeen piece orchestra is majorly different to Alan accompanying us on the keyboard. So getting the chance to sing along with the band before our dress rehearsal was useful.

Alan conducting.
Alan conducting.

 

Well done to Alan and our young persons orchestra!  

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist. 


 

29th July

It’s only a fortnight until opening night! This time in two weeks the “Into the Woods” cast will be performing to their first Fringe audience.

This week has been productive so far: yesterday we ran and added detail to Act 2; this morning Alan Gibson, our musical director, led us through a sing through of the entire show to polish all the solos, duets and ensemble pieces; and in the afternoon we ran Act 1.

We are now in a position to do a full run through of the show, which is a great place to be before we reach the Edinburgh Academy. 

The Witch may believe that “sometimes the things you most wish for are not to be touched” but I would recommend that you get your hands on some tickets soon. They can be bought via the On@Fife Website (click here) or from any Fife Cultural Trust box office. 

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Join us as we journey into the woods.

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist.


27th July

After a two week break (for some YMTSters) the “Into the Woods” cast reunited for rehearsal week two. I think today was tricky for a lot of us, having had such a large gap, but I’m sure that as the week goes on we will all get back into the swing of things.

Our choreographer Julieann was with us today to recap all the movement we had learned at the start of July – which, all in all, I think we remembered rather well – and she also choreographed certain chunks of the Act 2 finale.

Today was the lovely Julieann’s last day with us before we reach the Edinburgh Academy and perform at the Fringe: so I want to take a moment to say thank you very much on the behalf of the cast for the effort you have put into this production. Hopefully we will execute your choreography in a way that does it justice.

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist


10th July

This morning was our last rehearsal for Into the Woods until we return to the production on July 27th. From our first sing/read through of the show on Saturday to the short performance given by some of the cast today at The Cottage Family Centre, this week has been full of enthusiasm.

"Stay with me, the world is dark and wild. Stay a child while you can be a child. With me."
“Stay with me, the world is dark and wild. Stay a child while you can be a child. With me.”

We have managed to block the basics of the entire show, which is a phenomenal achievement. This means that when the cast gets back together for the second week of rehearsals in a couple of weeks time, we can work with out director Amanda to build upon the rough shape that we already have and layer on various levels of detail. We will also have the chance to look more in depth at our characterisation and our character’s relationship with others in the show.

Just so, little girl- Any path. So many worth exploring. Just one would be so boring.
“Just so, little girl, any path.
So many worth exploring.
Just one would be so boring.”
...And then what if you are what a prince would envision?
“And then what if you are what a prince would envision?”

However, just because rehearsals are over doesn’t mean the hard work is. Everyone has two weeks to try to fully learn their lines, go over music and recap blocking or movement. Hopefully the cast will all return to rehearsals off book, which is what Amanda is eager for. As she said herself, it will make the next stage of rehearsals much easier. I think it will make them more productive too.

"Agony, that can cut like a knife. I must have her to wife."
“Agony, that can cut like a knife. I must have her to wife.”

To those who are participating in Fame – The Musical have a great two weeks and I will definitely be there in the audience one night.

"And happy ever after!"
“And happy ever after!”

To all of the Into the Woods cast and production team, this week has been the right combination of hard work and fun. I am already looking forward to our reunion at the end of the month and all the moments still to come. See you all soon.

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist


Meet the Cast – Part Six

The final cast members interviewed for this week of rehearsals were Ronan Corkey and Jacob Topen, affectionately known as Jonan, who are playing the “charming” but not sincere Princes.

Jacob (Left) and Ronan (Right). One picture was not enough.
Jacob (Left) and Ronan (Right). One picture was not enough.

Emma: So Jacob is playing Cinderella’s Prince and Ronan, Rapunzel’s Prince. How are you guys feeling about getting to work together?

Jacob: First of all, Emma, wow! What an amazingly intricate piece of theatre that we have been given the opportunity to perform.

Ronan: It’s a real privilege, to be honest and I was delighted to be asked, I’m not sure about Jacob…

Jacob: Are we allowed to speak at the same time?

Emma (To Ronan): ”Delighted to be asked”? You applied to do this production.

Jacob: Um, what was I saying…?

Emma: This has gone so wrong already.

Jacob: I am thoroughly enjoying being given the opportunity by our wonderful director, Amanda (oh, what a lady)…

Ronan: She’s probably –

Jacob: No! Don’t Interrupt… we have been given the opportunity by her to prise open the clenched jaw of a show, which is of the highest calibre supreme and gaze upon the daunting, yet magnificent and creative genius of Sondheim.

Ronan: Stephen is his first name.

 

Emma: Well, you ignored my question.

Jacob: No, wait – I’m just saying that was my “first of all”.

Emma: Right, that’s a very long “first of all”. The question was “How are you feeling about working together?”

Jacob: Ok. Well, now to move on to your question, Emma, working with this man is a dream come true.

Ronan: It really is. Apart we are nothing but together we are slightly more than nothing – we are something.

Jacob: That’s right.

Ronan: It’s really a privilege to work with Jacob.

Jacob: I know.

Ronan: He’s a fantastic talent and one of my very best friends.

Emma: Yes, you two are such good friends.

Ronan: And I think we make a great team.

 

Emma: Your big numbers together are the two “Agony” songs. Which one do you prefer, the first or the second?

Jacob: The first one –

Ronan: The first one because we know that one!

Jacob: No, no, no. The first one it’s good –

Ronan: It introduces the Princes and their relationship with one another.

Jacob: But the best thing about the second one is that the audience are not expecting it at all! And then what happens is we come on and starting singing “Agony” again and they think, “Holy cow, we already heard this one during the first act. We wanted, in our minds, secretly to hear it again and now we are!”

Ronan: With different words!

Jacob: With different lyrics!

Emma: In my opinion the reprise is funnier because it’s about them pursuing two other princesses when they are already married to Cinderella and Rapunzel.

Ronan: It’s a bit more challenging as well. I like how there is some harmony incorporated into the reprise. They’re nice.

Jacob: Yes, it’s a little bit more testing.

Ronan: And our great vocal coach Robert Forrest has been working well with us, so thank you to him.

Jacob: Yes, we thank him for all he has done.

 

Ronan: Ask us more questions.

Emma: …The interview is already at 4 minutes and 40 seconds –

Ronan: We have good ideas about our hair for the show.

Jacob: Our hair will be higher than anyone has ever seen a person’s hair before.

Ronan: It will.

Jacob: The highest hair anyone has ever seen.

Ronan: Throughout the show the hair will keep getting higher. Quiffs.

Jacob: Extensions.

 

Jacob: I think there is a love story there between the two Princes as well.

Emma: They’re brothers?

Ronan: No, they’re not! We were told that the comic storyline behind this is that they keep chasing women, four in total. 

Emma: Actually, it’s five.

Ronan: But they are actually perfect for each other. And I feel that as well.

Jacob: They are perfect for each other.

Emma: Ok, I get that interpretation.

Ronan: Which we are too [perfect for each other].

Jacob: Which is quite unexpected, I think.

Ronan: I feel that’s why we were cast because we don’t need to act that too much.

Emma: I think it’s quite nice to end the interview on that note [finally], with you saying that the Princes are perfect for each other because the two of you have such a bromance.

Ronan: Jonan forever.

 My favourite phrase that Jacob used during the interview was “scrap that last”. He also had something to say about the Wolf, which he is also playing…but I think we will save that for another day – or perhaps not at all.

Thanks boys for making this the toughest interview to make sense of yet…

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist.


9th July

And to get what you wish, only just for a moment, these are dangerous woods.

It’s true, the woods are a dangerous place. Something which I proved today as the Baker’s Wife literally did fall to her “death”. Today’s moment in the woods is when my pretend fall became a real fall. As this rather funny moment was unfortunately not caught on camera, here is a picture of Madonna’s infamous fall at the 2015 Brit Awards. Therefore, I am going to christen the fall my Madonna Moment. I hope you all enjoyed the laugh.

Emma's "Madonna Moment"
Emma’s “Madonna Moment”

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist.


Meet the Cast – Part Five

Before another midnight has gone I thought I had better let you hear from the WitchHannah Wilson and also Little Red Riding Hood who is being played by Stephanie Hay.

Steph (Left) and Hannah (Right)
Steph (Left) and Hannah (Right)

Emma: Hannah, you’ve played the Witch before, so I wanted to ask you how you are feeling about approaching the role for the second time round?

Hannah: I have to say I’m slightly more nervous because everyone knows I’ve played her before and I think I did rather well, I got some really good feedback –

Emma: Because you did it with Fife College, you were marked?

Hannah: Yeah, I got a very high mark for it. So I think people are already expecting a high standard from me and I want to maintain that. I can now go into more detail with aspects of the role and do things that I haven’t done before. So I’m really excited to play her again because I get to go into even more depth – I can focus on the character and how she can interact differently with different characters.

 

Emma: I love so many of the Witch’s songs. Which one do you enjoy singing the most?

Hannah: I know a lot of people’s favourite is “Stay With Me” and I do love singing that song and the emotion that’s in it. I really like “Last Midnight” as well but I find it technically hard. So I would say it’s “Children Will Listen” in the Act 2 Finale, she sings watching over the Baker with his son and I’ll explain why. She says in “Last Midnight”, ‘I’m not good, I’m not nice, I’m just right’ but people think of her as the villain because she tells the truth that nobody wants to hear. So “Children Will Listen”, for me, shows that she’s not bad at all.

Emma: She’s just human.

Hannah: She’s human.

 

Emma: Steph, do you think that Into the Woods is much different from other productions you have been in before?

Steph: I think musically, in terms of how complex the music is, it’s similar to Parade which I did around a year ago now. But in terms of the show’s make-up, for example, it’s use of fairy tales and mixing them together, the story and style of show that it is, then I would say it’s very different for me.

Emma: The intricacy of the plot then?

Steph: Yes, definitely. It’s very fragmented; it cuts between different secondary storylines. So it’s really good and very interesting to be a part of something as complex as that.

 

Emma: How do you see Little Red’s character? Childish? Or not?

Steph: I think she begins childish and she’s very naïve. Or ff not childish, I think she is older physically perhaps and in her relationships that she has with people; but I think she’s maybe been…what’s the word?Emma: Sheltered?

Steph: Sheltered as she has been growing up. So she really is quite unknowing. And as the story evolves and she learns more about herself –

Emma: And the world.

Steph: – she changes from stomping through unabashed and by the end we see a more mature, disillusioned version of Little Red. At the same time thought she is sort of mothered by Cinderella; whereas before she was very much independent – “I can do things all by myself”. So also by the end she is maybe realising that she actually does need help and a mother figure, both of which help her grow up into the girl that she becomes at the end.

Emma: And  she also realises that “no one is alone”.

Steph: Yes – “no one is alone”.

Emma: What I like is that even within that journey she still retains her comedic element.

Steph: Yes. She’s got a very blunt kind of humour, which is funny.

Emma: And I think the show needs that, especially in Act 2.

Steph: Yes, to brighten up various moments. You definitely need a little bit of light-heartedness.

 Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist


Meet the Cast – Part Four

The role of Jack is shared by Alastair More and Matt Thompson.

Ali (Left) and Matt (Right)
Ali (Left) and Matt (Right)

I spoke to Ali  first:

Emma: You were in Into the Woods back in 2008, like me. What did you play?

Ali: I was the Steward. I would have only been 12 years old. I was Mark McLellan’s steward. It was great.

Emma: And now you’re getting to play Jack.

Ali: I am, which is great. I find it a bit strange that the last time I was in the show, I would have been at the right age for Jack (if you look at how they cast the role in the film) but I think I’ll be able to do a better job of Jack now.

Emma: Than you would have done when you hade a little unbroken voice.

Ali: Yes, exactly. I miss not having a broken voice actually.

Emma: What do you like about playing Jack?

Ali: Well, I’ll try not to make other people angry, but I think “Giants in the Sky” is one of the best songs in the show.

Emma: I think other people do really like that song.

Ali: Yeah, I love the song. I did it for my audition at the Conservatoire, so I knew it before I came to the auditions.

Emma: That helped then.

Ali: It did because I wasn’t just learning it for the audition. It meant I was quite comfortable with the words and the notes. It’s also good to be able to be in lots of sections and scenes with lots of different people.

Emma: In Into the Woods you don’t just have one or two characters that you have most of your scenes with. You get to interact with all of the other characters and it all comes together.

Ali: Lots of little fun sections, such as with Little Red. I think they have quite a fun relationship going on.

Emma: I really like that scene. It’s a bit of a childish argument and they are trying to outdo each other.

Ali: I enjoy getting to be a bit dim as well. Being a bit stupid is fun.

 Before we wrapped this up, Ali had a message for another cast member.

Ali: I’d like to say I’m delighted to pass on the mantle of the Steward to Andrew Stewart. I think Andrew Stewart will do a fantastic job as the Steward. He will be fabulous. That’s all I have to say.

Credit to Ronan Corkey, Rapunzel’s Prince, for the joke.

Then I had a chat with Matt.

Emma: I came to see the Fife College production of Into the Woods and you were Jack in that. You’re obviously now getting to perform the role for a second time round. So have you thought about how you will approach the role again? Is there anything you might do differently?

Matt: Well when I did it with the college I had an American accent; so I want to change it to my own accent this time, since everyone else is making a conscious effort to do the same thing. I can remember how I portrayed the role last year but I’m going to try and stay away from that and play the role in a different way, just to challenge myself. Another thing is that I’ve not been to the Fringe before, it will be a new experience for me, I’m not sure how I will handle it and with the crowd, for example, it might be a bit daunting to say the least.

Emma: I’d like to pick up on what you said about playing the role differently. I admire that because it can be tempting to stay in your comfort zone if you’ve done a role before

Matt: Exactly.

Emma: And I know where you’re coming from because when I got the chance to play Eponine for a third time, I made a conscious effort for the Fringe to try and improve and think about things more than I might have done in the previous productions. So I think you have a great mind-set; you’re not just thinking, “I’ve done this before, I’m going to breeze through because I know it”. But because you do already know the basis of the role, you can now think more about the character.

Matt: Yeah. And it’s also good because when me and Ali get together we can actually decide what we are going to do but also play the role in different ways. We will do the same sort of thing but in a different kind of style. And I think that’s what Amanda likes and why she has two casts.

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist


8th July

Oh, if life were made of moments

Today was such a productive day: everyone worked extremely hard on the complex movement sequences that Julieann had choreographed and the Baker had fun blocking “It Takes Two” with his Wives and Amanda Glover, our director. So today there is not just one moment but two.

The Baker and the Baker's Wives Perform "It Takes Two"
The Baker and the Baker’s Wives Perform “It Takes Two”
"No need to be afraid there. There's something in the glade there."
“No need to be afraid there. There’s something in the glade there.”

 

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist


Meet the Cast – Part Three

The role of Cinderella will be played by Hannah Visocchi and Lauren Conroy.

Hannah (Left) and Lauren (Right)
Hannah (Left) and Lauren (Right)

Emma: Lauren, this is your first show with YMTS. So how do you feel things are going so far?

Lauren: I really enjoy the company and the whole production is going really well. It’s exciting being involved with new people.

Emma: Yeah, that’s nice. And Cinderella’s a great part to play. Lovely songs.

Lauren: Yes! I really like Cinderella, she’s brilliant.

 

Emma: And Hannah, what is your favourite aspect of Cinderella’s character?

Hannah: I think there’s a lot more to her than maybe comes across to an audience. I think there is a sense of longing for something that she never actually gets. She wants to go the festival, she gets her prince – dances with him, eventually falls in love with him and they get married. He’s unfaithful. Then she and the Baker, I feel, have a moment in the woods. Then at the end of the show she is the only character that asks for a wish again; she says ‘I wish’ and that closes the show.

Emma: So people are never fully satisfied then?

Hannah: Never. There’s always more longing.

Lauren: Also what she longs for represents something different throughout the show. At the start what she longs for is a prince and a ball, representing a younger girl and at the end what she wants is the comfort that can be found with the Baker and things like that. So she has grown up.

 

Emma: And, Lauren, do you have a favourite song?

Lauren: ‘On the Steps of the Palace’. It’s the best song, it’s so much fun to sing.

Hannah: I like to sing the duet with the Baker – ‘No One is Alone’.

Hannah also wanted to mention that she thinks Cinderella is the hardest role she has had to take on and Lauren completely agreed. I think the other cast members I have spoken to so far, myself included, would agree that these roles are an incredible challenge, as it the show itself – but both are welcome ones.


7th July

That’s what woods are for: for those moments in the woods…

Our YMTS choreographer Julieann Crannie came to join the Into the Woods cast today to block the number “Ever After”, the final segment of the Act 1 Finale. That’s right, we have blocked all of Act 1 and it’s only day four

Today’s moment is a collage of action shots taken as the cast performed part of the sharp movement sequence that Julieann taught us. Well done to the cast for their hard work and thank you, Julieann.

These great pictures are "moment-worthy".
These great pictures are “moment-worthy”.

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist


Meet the Cast – Part Two

Introducing the Baker’s Wives, myself (Emma McFarlane) and Sophie Penman.

Sophie (Left) and Emma (Right)
Sophie (Left) and Emma (Right)

When I spoke with Sophie we chatted about what we were looking forward to throughout the Into the Woods Fringe project.

Emma: I was in the show back in 2008 when I was 13 and played one of the stepsisters, Lucinda, so I am looking forward to doing the show again but this time getting the chance to play a different, more complex role now that I’ve grown as a performer and in experience. The Baker’s Wife is also the role that I knew I would love to play; she has some really great moments in the show and she is in the midst of all the action. I especially love the reprise of ‘No One is Alone’ that she gets to sing in the Act 2 Finale, watching over the Baker with her son as a ghost – it’s really touching and beautiful. And I am looking forward to being on stage with so many of my friends because it always makes performing more enjoyable. What about you, Sophie?

 

Sophie: I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead as Sondheim is vocally demanding and requires a specific skill in order to sing the score. With such a young cast, it will definitely be a test of our ability but I’m sure we will pull it out of the bag as always. I’m also really excited about being able to get my teeth into this role – it’s different to anything I’ve ever done before and especially as I’m playing both the Baker’s Wife and Jack’s Mother, I’m able to not only get into one character but two – a performer’s dream. It’s definitely a good opportunity for me to test myself but also to show what I can do. The Fringe is such an amazing experience and to be surrounded with such talented people, who are all such good friends, is just fantastic. To say I’m excited about the summer is an understatement!

Check back later for the next instalment of Meet the Cast.

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist


6th July

Every moment is of moment when you’re in the woods…

Today’s moment from rehearsals was watching our Cinderella’s PrinceJacob Topen, stay frozen in this position for the entirety of ‘On the Steps of the Palace’ which is 2 minutes and 30 seconds long. Godspeed, brother.

IMG_2313

It would be quite nice to have a moment from as many rehearsals as possible. Throughout the rest of the rehearsal period, if any of the cast notice anything ‘moment-worthy’ pass it on to me. 

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist.


Meet the Cast – Part One

During our lunch break on the first day of rehearsals, I managed to have a word with some cast members including Fraser Morrison who is portraying the Baker and Connor Wallace who has been cast as the Mysterious Man/Narrator.

Fraser (Left) and Connor (Right)

Here’s what Fraser, who was the Baker in YMTS’s 2014 production of Into the Woods, had to say:

Emma: So, you’ve played the Baker before, Fraser. How are you going to approach the role for the second time?

Fraser: I think, going back and doing it a second time allows you to really get more in depth with the role; because the show is so hard and we work in such short time scales, it’s really nice to be able to go back and work on characterisation once you know the music well.

Emma: Yeah, I completely agree with that, it’s the same with other shows YMTS have returned to, like Les Mis.

 I then got Connor to say with a few words and he came up with a very individual answer…

Emma: So, Connor what are you looking forward to most about the show?

Connor: Well that’s really two questions, isn’t it, Emma? However you think about it, we are all looking forward to something, really, aren’t we? And that’s what I like so much about the mysterious… fellow. He can give ambiguous answers and it still suits his character. And I’m looking forward to that.

Emma: Being ambiguous?

Connor: Oui. Yes Indeed. Is there anything else you would like to know, Emma?

Emma: Do you think it’s going to be a challenge for you?

Connor: A challenge…

Emma: You are the narrator as well, there’s a lot to learn.

Connor: Remembering lines, I’m awful at that. So…

Emma: But I’m sure you’ll be able to work on it.

Connor: I’ll work on it. I’ll give it a good old bash.

Emma: Well, I’m sure you’ll be great Connor.

 Over the next week, I will be speaking to more cast members and getting their thoughts on the Into the Woods project so far.

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist


4th July

Today, four weeks on from the casting weekend, the cast of Into the Woods came back together for their first rehearsal. After a morning of note-bashing, the afternoon was dedicated to a sing/read through of the show. It was a long day for everyone but I think we all agreed that it was something we needed to do. While it may have been challenging or made people feel a bit nervous, I think it was beneficial to hear and to hopefully understand how such a complex story, with lots of individual and interweaving strands, fits together as a whole.

It was nice to hear everyone singing together. During the rare moments in the score where you can find some harmony for the company, the blend of different voices produced a lovely sound.

After today, I hope everyone agrees that we have a cast capable of building a great production for the Fringe festival and are looking forward to doing so over the next week.

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist


6th June

Tonight was the first part of the ‘Into the Woods’ casting weekend, which will form part of YMTS’s third trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. It was great to see both familiar and new faces and get stuck in straight away twenty minutes late – sorry Jacob. Tonight was all about the music: Alan, our musical director, went over each audition piece with us, trying to guide us through the wordy melodies and share some advice.

‘Into the Woods’ really relies on storytelling and I think that’s what most of us will take away from tonight’s session. Sondheim’s lyrics are full of subtle but meaningful and important messages and as Alan said, if you use the words half of your acting is done for you.

Tomorrow will be a long day of auditions, so best of luck everyone – go for it!

Emma McFarlane – Participant Journalist


About Emma…

Emma is 19 years old and a history student at Edinburgh University. She has performed with YMTS (at the time under a different name) since primary school. 2015 marks her 10th year performing with YMTS – her first production being ‘Fat Sam’s Rainbow Cabaret’ playing the part of Blousey Brown in October 2005. Some of her favourite roles have been Eponine in ‘Les Mis’, Meg in ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and Kim in ‘Miss Saigon’ (Kirkcaldy Youth Music Theatre). Emma has tried her hand at journalism, writing theatre reviews for ‘The Student’ at university. So she is happy to combine two hobbies that she really enjoys as YMTS begin their journey into the woods and towards the fringe festival!

Emma as Meg Giry in Phantom of the Opera with YMTS
Emma as Meg Giry in Phantom of the Opera with YMTS
Emma as Blousey Brown
Emma as Blousey Brown in 2005!
Emma, PJ for Into the Woods 2015
Emma, PJ for Into the Woods 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

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