A Year Of Opportunities...
Where have I been? What have I done? What have I seen?
Since my last blog post (an eternity ago), I had started up this website to showcase my creative work and 'put myself out there', as the kids say.
When launching the site, I promised myself to keep track of everything I did, and within a year's time, look back on where I started.
So what happened after 2018?
The beginning of 2019 kicked off with our amateur production of Guys and Dolls, where I was cast as the role of Benny Southstreet. After months and months of blocking, choreography and harmonies, show week rolled around; and it could not have gone better.
Seeing as this was one of my first principle singing(!!!) roles in a big budget production, I was emotionally all over the place, but come closing night, I looked out into the audience as I took my final bow and thought: "I made it out alive. Nice.".
2 Months later, I had saved up enough to go on a Performing Arts trip to New York City (cue jazz hands).
It was a 5 night stay, and I can say with confidence that it was the best 5 days I think I've ever had.
Being a drama trip, it was absolutely necessary to see a show of some kind, but my excitement upon the news of seeing Dear Evan Hansen and King Kong (ON BROADWAY!) was immeasurable.
Throughout this trip, we were also lucky enough to have a 'Stage Combat' workshop and a 'Musical Theatre' workshop.
When we arrived for stage combat, chance had it that our class was taught by Eric William Morris, the lead in King Kong (and the Squip from Be More Chill, but I'll try and stay calm about that), but all in all, we learnt some scarily realistic stage combat sequences, and I loved every bit of it.
For our Musical Theatre workshop, we were taught by one of the swings of the show, where we learnt a 'sea shanty' style song from the show, as well as its' choreography. This was all back in April and I kid you not, I still remember the words, the moves, everything.
After the intense shopping sprees, the hot dogs, and the singalongs at Ellen's Stardust Diner, it was time to go, and I can say confidently that New York, is in fact, so good they named it twice.
After recovering from 'Post-NYC blues', I had the opportunity to have my first ever LAMDA exam. I wanted to start in slowly, so I decided to take on Level 2 (Grade 4) solo Musical Theatre. It took me a while to choose 2 contrasting songs (and a spoken song to perform as a monologue), but I came out with 'Freeze Your Brain' from Heathers, 'Javert's Suicide' from Les Miserables, and 'I Believe' from the Book of Mormon as my spoken piece. It's fair to say I'm chuffed from never doing a LAMDA exam before, to achieving a Distinction in my exam? LAMDA = Me likey.
Around this time, for My A Level Film Studies course, I had to set out to produce a screenplay for a 10 minute short film. I thought about a 'short and sweet' concept for mine, and I took a dash of inspiration from 'The Fly' by Olly Williams, a story about a getaway driver who overreacts aggressively and horrifically when a fly in the getaway car won't shut up. The comedic value of this was the lengths the man went to to get rid of the fly, including getting out the car, smashing up the windows and the bonnet, then proceeding to blow a hole in the door with a shotgun.
While I didn't want mine to be this extreme (I mean it's A Level, come on), Instead, I based mine on the frustration of wanting to say something, but not having it come out on paper.
My screenplay is about a guy who has a high school crush, and decides to do something about it. Worried of the ridicule should he confess verbally, or on social media, he decides to write a letter to him confessing his feelings. The problem is, the words just aren't coming out.
I wanted to make a modern rom-com, hence why I made the narrative revolve around two guys. However, I didn't want to be OTT with it, like companies or films that over-emphasise same sex relationships to tick boxes for the audience. I just wanted that as a subtle detail to say "Hey, if it's love, it can happen to anyone. End of." It doesn't detract from the story at all.
This Summer, I auditioned for our next big production: Les Miserables! Out of the male audition songs (Who Am I, Bring Him Home, Empty Chairs, Stars), I chose the latter to audition for Javert (because 'dream role' and such). Following on from the singing audition we went through a few bars worth of choreography for the iconic 'Do You Hear The People Sing?' and that was that. It wasn't until a few weeks later that the cast list came out and I received the news that I will be playing Javert (ahh!!) in the show! In terms of rehearsals, we are coming to the end of the whole thing, so January will be a month of fine tuning. Lots of fine tuning. With show week in February 2020, I'm feeling nervous but also ready to take this on, and pray to God on high (get the reference?) that my voice holds until closing night.
(Oh, and I'm in charge of promotional material too, like videos, posters, banners, the program etc. So if that's not a bonus, I don't know what is.)
That's (currently) all from me, keep watching this blog for updates on #WrayMis and any other antics I get up to.