13: A SMUS Summer Musical

by Cormac O’Brien, Grade 10 student

This year, I had the pleasure and privilege to be part of the SMUS Summer Musical Theatre course, which was putting on a production of the Broadway musical 13. Over a course of two weeks, I and 16 other kids, plus the director and the music director, were at the school from 9:00-3:00 pm, practicing and perfecting a three-hour Broadway show. It was definitely very interesting. There was singing, dancing, acting, swaying, sometimes even fighting, and even a song about a hypochondriac. It was a brilliant musical, I was doing it with brilliant people, and I had a brilliant time.

It, as most things do, started out on day one. Coming back into SMUS, heading into the depths of the music building, and beginning the trek that would hopefully end up with an awesome musical. We, the cast, played some ice breakers, then read the script together. This year, as it has been for all the years I’ve known of this course and I’m sure for all the years before it, the group was amazing. There were people from all over Victoria, and even the world, as we had someone from Costa Rica.

And the incredible thing is, everyone became friends so quickly. The next day we, again, did some ice breakers, and then got to work. We started blocking (figuring out what everyone does in a certain scene), and we also started practising musical numbers. For the next five days, we toiled. It was very intense, having to memorize lines, remember where to be, and when, and since we double casted (Each person played two roles, and switched one role with somebody else on alternate nights), there were even more lines to memorize, and even more places to remember to be at.

Then, about a week in, we went to the Victoria Event Centre, to perform one of our songs at the Fringe Festival Preview. Due to the fact we were playing with a band, and also a track, the song was definitely a bit rocky, but our enthusiasm carried us through, and many people were talking about the show as we left, which is what we wanted. Then, a couple days after that, we performed more songs at the Fringe Kids festival, which was great. There was a really relaxed atmosphere, and everyone sang great. Then it was back to SMUS, and back to practising.

After two weeks of solid rehearsing, we were finally ready. Due to time issues, we’d whittled a three-hour musical down to an hour and a half, but it was still great. Everyone was super excited, but nervous as well. We were to start on a Thursday night, then we would perform on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday night as well. We were all pumped, and sad at the same time, because our time together was drawing to a close.

Everything went superbly. The cast did brilliantly, the audience loved the show, and everything was a huge success. I had such a fun time doing this, and meeting a bunch of new friends who I will never forget, and I also had fun hanging out with friends I’d already made. If anyone was thinking of doing this next year, I’d suggest it, for sure. It’s such a neat experience, with friendly people, cool musicals and fun times. I’ll definitely be coming back next year!

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