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Meet Audrey, Mushnik and Seymour from ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

25 Jan 24

Year 13’s Esme – Audrey  

“I’ve been involved in every show since starting at Woodbridge School, apart from when Covid restrictions were in place and no one could perform, and I have to say I’m the most excited about this performance and character!  Watching other students in leading roles I’ve always aspired to have my moment to shine, I’m thrilled about playing Audrey and loving the challenge the performance offers and presents – I can’t wait.  

The rehearsals have been brilliant, even the weekends! It’s such a great opportunity to see everyone taking part, its hard work but actually really good fun all at the same time – especially spending time and working with people I don’t ordinarily cross paths with in School, particularly as this is a whole School production so I’m meeting and working with students from across the Year groups.   

Rehearsals aren’t just an opportunity to practise your lines, your acting, they’re a chance to learn from others – and hopefully for others to learn from you.  Everyone’s in the same position and relying on one another; it makes the whole process of working up to and performing such a great time. It’s great working with Ollie and James again, and especially as this is so very different to anything we’ve been in together in the past – it’s exciting to see them as their characters develop and come to life in their acting.  

My absolute favourite numbers is Suppertime which I perform with Year 12’s Xander; the plant (Audrey II) is luring Audrey into watering him…and then eats her!  It’s quite a special number, very persuasive and seductive and the tentacles just accentuate the suggestive nature of the entire scene. I love the song too!  

Ahead of performing I think it’s important to develop a coping strategy in terms of making sure you can give your very best in all performances over the week – perhaps saving a little extra for the final show.  Rehearsals teach and encourage stamina, but there’s an awful lot of self-discipline needed too.  And as Miss Mayes says, there’s also a huge amount of trust that is needed between the actors and the Director; it’s like an invisible contract and our side of it is that we promise to do our absolute best and deliver the performances of our lives – which I know we will do!”  

Year 13’s Ollie – Mushnik

“Honestly, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to play Mushnik; this part offers me the opportunity to sing, dance and act – everything I absolutely love about the whole process of doing a musical!

Mushnik is fun to play as although he’s fairly balanced in terms of his personality throughout the entire performance, he is in fact the character whose presence and character balances out what you might say is the hysteria of Seymour and Audrey. Performing alongside Esme is also a real pleasure, having played the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music, we’ve come full circle you might say, and this has been the perfect opportunity to act together again.

I’ve been really enjoying the rehearsals, and as Esme said, even the weekends are fun – after all, you can’t expect to put on a performance of this scale if you don’t and aren’t willing to work hard and that includes putting in the time and energy needed. For me it’s the immersion in the play that I enjoy the most during rehearsals, adding on the layers each and every time you get together to go through lines and scenes, adding in the music, taking part in choreography, it’s been brilliant so far and I know it will continue to get better.

Rehearsals are also a chance to see and meet other people, friends in School and those you might not have met or had the chance to perform with. Again, as Esme said, being a whole School musical means we’re spending time with people from different parts and Years at School, it’s quite a unique opportunity.

My favourite number is Mushnik and Son where I sing with James, who plays Seymour. The song comes from nowhere and the choreography is just as unexpected going against everything the audience will have thought they knew about Mushnik; it’s a real opportunity for James and I to really give it everything we’ve got and I know he enjoys the number as much as I do – I can’t wait to perform it to an audience.

Looking ahead to the performance, I don’t tend to get nervous, I’ve done this a few times now so I guess you could say I’ve perfected my coping strategies. I feel calm and collected, and usually have a quiet moment to myself just before we go on stage. It’s so important to remain centred, to have control, especially for a production as lively as this, it would be so easy to get drawn into reacting to the crowd’s enthusiasm and enjoyment of scenes, rather than acting how you are meant to in the scene – especially on the first and last night of the performance.”

Year 12’s James – Seymour

“Seymour is great, he’s a geek, he’s nervous, it’s the kind of role I love to play actually, definitely my ‘sweet spot’, we all have characters that we feel are most definitely in our repertoire! At the start of the play he’s incredibly set in his ways, has no aspirations whatsoever – so it’s great to see how his character develops as he becomes famous in the most unexpected way; great to see his reaction and those of the other characters in the play.

Coming through to the auditions there were a few of us still performing in Jack Absolute Flies Again, and Miss Mayes said she could tell we were all still trapped in those characters, that it was quite amusing to watch. But working with her in Drama and on all the productions I’ve been part of, she knew and had faith that I would be just as faithful to the role I played in Little Shop of Horrors – and I absolutely love the part I get to play.

Rehearsals have been going really well, they’re hard going and take dedication and commitment, but none of us are going into this with anything else in mind, it’s a great opportunity to be part of a brilliant whole School production and I can’t wait to perform. I love working with Oli and Esme, we’ve been in many shows together in the past, playing such different characters, so it’s great to have the opportunity to explore other characters together, and working with people you know, and trust makes a huge difference. I have complete faith in the fact that I know they will work as hard as I will, as will everyone involved in the production, and that when we’re on stage we can trust one another to be there if needed, you know, if you lose your place, or a line just isn’t coming, I know they will be there to pick me up and carry me through! Trust, truthfulness and authenticity are so important, not only in yourself as an actor but in those you’re performing with – how lucky are we to have that in each other?

My favourite number is also Mushnik and Son, just like Ollie’s. It’s utterly brilliant and unexpected and I’m loving rehearsing and working with Kath who choreographed the number to perfect my moves – dancing isn’t usual territory on stage for me so the opportunity to explore this part of acting has been brilliant.

I think this musical tells an intimate, beautiful story when you look at the characters and the story closely, so I’ve taken time to find my character Seymour, watched other performances of the play but been careful not to take on the identity of the character I’ve seen in them; I want to create and share a version of Seymour that I’ve taken time to develop and bring to the stage.”

Tickets are on sale for Little Shop of Horrors via Seckford Theatre: https://www.seckfordtheatre.org/event/little-shop-of-horrors/.

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