BWW Blog: Rommy Sandhu of THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN - Storytelling is the Key
What a week this has been. The cast was excited to be on their feet, turning the cerebral into the physical. It's been a week of staging, cutting, adding, discussing and finessing. It's important to remember that everyone is valuable, and finding the best way to utilize their individual talents goes "part and parcel" with team leadership.
Storytelling is the key to creating a meaningful show. Being clear in the simple desire that the characters should mean what they say is the cornerstone in the foundation of the play. To tell the story, the author, director and actor must work together to discover the best way to complete the task at hand. Dick Scanlan, with his advice and knowledge is one of the best guides through the mountains of text and lyric that I've had the pleasure to work with. Combine that with Kathleen's own insights and sense for detail, and this is a master class in construction. The final part of the theatrical triumvirate is the actor. New pages, minute changes in dialogue and patterns of speech would make anyone's head swim. Watching Beth Malone (Molly Brown) and Burke Moses (J.J. Brown) balance on the verbal tightrope, while taking genuine care and concern for each other's place is a constant reminder that we share the stage with each other. Nothing is ever as simple as stand here, do this say that. They spend time creating staging that helps the other shine.
Beginning with the simple activity of reading through the lines before staging the scene brings up thoughts and questions. That discussion and the answers it provides in turn help to put everyone on the same page. And then the process becomes that much more effective.
Let's not forget...this is a musical. The monumental task of interpreting Meredith Willson's music rests firmly on Michael Rafter's shoulders. Music, as most of us know, is a craft rarely mastered at the presentational level. The actually construction of it is an art form unto itself. Michael spends countless hours finessing musical phrases to find just the right structure to enhance the moment. The beautiful Willson melodies have planted themselves firmly in my ears and I find myself humming them as I walk. Place those melodies into David Chase's dance arrangements and you've got a recipe for joy. My feet can't stop moving, and neither can the cast's!
By the end of the week, we've staged a large portion of an exciting first act. The miners have been serenading the mountains with "Colorado, My Home." Molly (Beth) travels the entire stage faster than a Denver Broncos Quarterback Blitz. And the full company gets caught up in the swirling fun of "Belly Up to the Bar Boys"! Most of us know how hard it is to catch your breath while dancing a production number in a studio or onstage at sea-level. Now just imagine leaping, twirling, and going full out in Denver at 5280 feet (mile high)! When you're having a great time, like this cast is, it's a blast. Now it's off to Leadville, really, for some research and to walk in Molly and JJ's footprints. Belly Up!
Change is good!
The Miners of Leadville! (Top L-R; Karl Josef Co, Gregg Goodbrod, Paolo Montalban, John Scherer, Keven Quillon, John Hickock. Bottom L-R; Michael Halling, Omar Lopez Cepero, David Abeles, Constantine Germanacos).