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Oklahoma!

Posted on: November 10th 2017

Tuesday 7th November 2017

“Oh, what a beautiful morning”, sang Emma ‘Laurey Williams’ Wilcox (Year 12) boomingly, waltzing onto the stage as she brought her character to life and marked the start of the rehearsal. Here we were again (with heaps more confidence and fewer scripts on stage) to run through the first few scenes of the play. With a much deeper understanding of our own characters and each other’s, we definitely felt immersed in the world of Oklahoma, with Jess ‘Aunt Eller’ Cooper (Year 13) and Tom ‘Curly McLain’ Beswick’s (Year 12) rapport bringing about a riveting performance of the two’s repartee that introduces Oklahoma and the Oklahoma spirit.

After a while, we began to polish Will’s introduction: a vital scene that shows off the wild and rowdy camaraderie of the production’s cowboys. Jess ‘Aunt Eller’ Cooper (Year 13) took control of the stage with her bold and powerful acting style that perfectly projects her unique and memorable rendition of Aunt Eller during the Little Wonder scene. We were able to vastly improve and polish this scene, in which the cowboys share a rather scandalous little device that Aunt Eller forcefully gets her hands on before humorously reprimanding the naughty cowboys.

This is a very funny scene, which was made significantly funnier with the help of Mrs Sallabank’s direction, who – as Tom ‘Curly McClain’ Beswick (Year 12) described – “Sallabanked” the scene. Jess ‘Aunt Eller’ Cooper’s (Year 13) comedic delivery truly shone here, complementing the equally powerful delivery of the cowboys, including myself.

Peter ‘Ike Skidmore’ Palma (Year 10), in particular, I have found is very good at improvising hilarious jokes – onstage. His presence on the stage truly spices up the performance. We can be sure that his scene will get a few laughs from the audience.

This is my first time being involved in the production and I am really enjoying getting to know all the characters. They are a very exciting bunch and there is never a dull moment whether we are acting, singing or waiting in the wings.

 I am sure this incredible cast will not fail to do Oklahoma the justice it deserves: this will certainly be a memorable show for the audience and a memorable experience for me!

By Abraham ‘Fred’ Alsawaf (Year 12)

 

Tuesday 17th October, 2017

 “Look - Look at him! Fell on his own knife!” exclaimed Thomas ‘Curly’ Beswick (Year 12) bringing the tightly-rehearsed fight scene to an emotional crescendo. The excitable cast reared round to find out what was happening in the home of the newly-wedded couple of Emma ‘Laurey’ Wilcox (Year 12) and Thomas ‘Curly’ Beswick.

This memorable rehearsal started with the wedding party and everybody was there. It was a very thrilling occasion, and, at some points, I even drifted off into the feeling of reality. The girls especially got excited with one rather long stage direction turning into a kerfuffle with the crowd, who were trying relentlessly to get the flowers. Sadly, there wasn’t enough for all of them.

Sam ‘Ali Hakim’ Hay (Year 13) and Holly ‘Cord Elam’ Turner were getting into the spirit of things, making us do the scenes many times with only a few changes to ensure a brilliant performance. When the happily-wedded couple were sitting at their new ranch, everything was suspicious for a group of boys, who went to have a look. This part of the scene could not go without the great imagination of Nathan ‘Will Parker’ Spellman (Year 10) who thought that they could do a manoeuvre of pulling somebody up to see what was happening in the windows of the happy but suspicious ranch.  After an hour of perfecting this scene, I George ‘Slim’ Abraham (Year 9) was finally put on top of Peter ‘Tom’ Palma (Year 10) to see the sights. It was like standing on a mountain, with many people staring up. It was indeed an exciting experience, in which many got involved to try and take it a step further.

The rehearsal finished off with a spectacle to watch of Jud ‘George Murray’ Fry (Year 13) and Thomas ‘Curly’ Beswick (Year 12) fighting in a very realistic scene. Everyone was on the edge of their seats, seeing the fantastic and edgy experience of this fight that was practised for one hour. The effort was astonishing to watch.   

This brilliant rehearsal has definitely brought the cast a step further to success, and it also showed the amount of effort that is already being put into this play. The only other thing to say is: ‘You’re doing fine Oklahoma. Oklahoma, OK!’

By George ‘Slim’ Abraham (Year 9)

 

Tuesday 10th October 2017

There was an air of excitement in Oklahoma today as Jess 'Aunt Eller' Cooper (Year 13) waved her gavel around whilst auctioning off the lunch hampers prepared by eligible bachelorettes. I, the perceptive Nathan 'Will Parker' Spellman (Year 10) left Sam 'Ali Hakim' Hey (Year 13) "bunkoed" - due to his maths skills, or rather, lack of them.

After a long battle between the "Farmer and the Cowman" Tom 'Curly McLain' Beswick (Year 12) walked away with the hamper of Emma 'Laurey Williams' Wilcox (Year 12) and Lucy 'Ado Annie' Johnson's (Year 10) hamper was purchased by one Ali Hakim, his motivations were very… subtle. Sam may have won the battle but my $50 won the war!

Charlie 'Andrew Carnes' Culver (Year 13) never ceases to amaze with his delivery, stealing the show with his lines that are short but sweet. And it would seem that Aunt Eller was the role Jess was born to play.
Although we are still in the rudimentary stages of rehearsals, Oklahoma seems to be shaping up; character identities are beginning to be established and our southwestern accents are improving. 

By Nathan 'Will Parker' Spellman (Year 10)

Tuesday 3rd October 2017

A whole cast rendition of 'Oh, What a Beautiful Morning' filled the school hall as Mr Townsend gathered us all together to start what would be a very productive rehearsal. He told us that we needed to ensure that we used simple singing techniques such as opening our mouths wider, raising our eyebrows and smiling (to raise the cheekbones) in order to prevent us from singing flat and off key. Then, we used these skills to sing through the end section of 'It's a Scandal! It's an Outrage!' mixed in with the boys shouting and the girls ending on a very high note!

Then we all separated into different rooms to work on our own aspects of the production. This included the boys remaining in the hall to complete the rest of the vocals for 'It's a Scandal', which I am sure is now note-perfect. The hall was then used for scene work after this. The girls went into the drama studio to continue their choreography from the previous week for 'Many a New Day', and I believe they looked up various videos of performances of the song on the internet to be able to use for inspiration. Meanwhile, Tom 'Curly McLain' Beswick and Emma 'Laurey Williams' Wilcox were rehearsing their duet of 'People Will Say We're in Love', which, if I do say so myself, sounded lovely, and I hope the audience will think so too when they are watching in February.

Then at around 4:15, the chorus were done for the day so were all able to go home. Once they had left, the hall space was used by Mr Townsend to block the flirting scene between Curly and Laurey, as well as 'People Will Say We're in Love'.  It is clear that the characters are definitely in love with each other, but just won't admit it yet. So, it will be interesting to explore the characterisation of them both and how they interact, which should result in a very fun process for these two scenes.

Overall, this rehearsal was a good one due to everybody always having something to do, which resulted in it being productive. The time was also used well as we got everything done that needed to be done, which can be hard to achieve in whole cast rehearsal. I hope many other rehearsals can be like this one, and if they are, it will make for an outstanding production!


-Written by Emma 'Laurey Williams' Wilcox, 12R
 

Tuesday 26th September, 2017

We were finally beginning rehearsals for Oklahoma 2018 with such an amazing cast. For this rehearsal we were going through the entrances of Curly and Will. It was fantastic to see how well we all immediately got on, despite perhaps having only met each other the previous Friday. It was exhilarating to think about being the first person on stage, even if I am just churning butter! As soon as I started however, I was upstaged by the dulcet tones of Tom ‘Curly’ Beswick’s (Year 12) voice.

The best part was everyone putting over their ideas to those on stage to improve and work together to make Oklahoma as brilliant as it should be. I appreciated the guidance of Holly ‘Chord Elam’ Turner (Year 13), an old hand at assistant directing, Miss ‘Lamis’ Alturk, a wonderful addition to the staff and Rob ‘Stage Manager’ Counsell (Year 12), who has taken on the role with such deft ability. It’s astonishing he hasn’t done this before.

It was also marvellous to have to such a mix of year groups involved. I could bond with students my age but also get to know some lower years a little better. For example, I didn’t know that it was Peter ‘Ike’ Palma’s (Year 10) birthday, nor that he had such a wayward sense of humour – he has such incredible comedic timing, it was quite endearing.

I’m unbelievably excited to start rehearsing songs and looking into how other performers have played Aunt Eller which I hope will help my confidence with my character. I honestly think that we are off to a brilliant start and I cannot wait to perform with this stunning and talented cast.

By Jess ‘Aunt Eller’ Cooper (Year 13)