What really goes on backstage, when the public face is replaced by the private one? Dress Rehearsal follows five performers over one evening as they endeavour to bring opera to a London pub. Onstage and backstage, the arias and ballads parallel the hopes, fears and disappointments of the individual singers.
Alternating between the bar and the intimate setting of the dressing room, the play explores the failures, ambitions and rivalries of the performers over a night when tensions between them come to a head. The group may be dominated by failed Diva, Bella, but the story ultimately belongs to reticent Steph as her past comes back to haunt her and a secret is revealed which means nothing will ever be the same again.
Director Paola Cuffolo comments, What the script does brilliantly is show how people interact with one another when they must work together towards a shared goal but from totally different idealistic standpoints. It also highlights how opera can represent all of these people and walks of life, bringing its relevance to the fore in an age where it is often side-lined. Having been heavily in opera throughout my own career, the opportunity to connect it to people’s lives in a way that makes it real and alive is very exciting.
Using opera and traditional music to express the emotions at the heart of the play, Dress Rehearsal looks at the pain of coming to terms with failed ambitions and lost opportunities – yet at the same time it is a tale of hope, camaraderie, forgiveness and love.
Writer A.J. Evans comments: “Dress Rehearsal was inspired by a group of middle-aged performers I saw singing in a London pub. I couldn’t help wondering what their hopes and dreams had been. On stage they showed a united front – but perhaps there were all kinds of jealousies and insecurities simmering under the surface? As a story began to form, I saw that I could alternate the onstage scenes with those of the backstage, and have the opera arias feed into what was happening with the various group members. I don’t think anything quite like this has been done before – a kind of ‘jukebox musical’, only with opera!”
Dress Rehearsal is full of musical greats including excerpts from La Traviata, Carmen, The Magic Flute and The Mikado.
Sponsored by the Bull’s Head, Barnes.
Performance Dates Tuesday 9th – Saturday 20th February 2016
Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm
Saturday matinees, 3pm
Running time 90 minutes, plus interval
Twitter @OSOArtsBarnes, #DressRehearsalOpera
Writer Alison Evans
Director Paola Cuffolo
Musical Director Gaspar Hunt
Production Manager Ian Taylor
Choreography Paola Cuffolo and Chiara Vinci
Set Designer Sophie Hulbert
Lighting Designer George Petty
Costume Designer Liz Marsden
Production Electrician Cameron Murray Production LX
Stage Manager Samantha Gardiner
Set Builder Will Newman
Wigs and Make-up Katherine Vose
Lionel Tony Baker
Steph Alexandra Cowell
Kit Luke Farrugia
Zeno and Young Tramp AJ MacGillivray
Phyllis Karen Newby
Micky James Richards
Young Steph Chiara Vinci
Bella Amanda Wagg
OSO Arts Centre, 29 Station Road, London SW13 0LF