Give yourself absolute pleasure …

A little while ago I was asked if I was interested in being part of the Hot n Flustered Shadow Cast crew’s Grease production,

At first I was a little nervous, but I said “yeah why not” – it didn’t take long to get hooked.

What is “Shadowcast”

Urban Dictionary describes it slightly different on this link but essentially a Shadowcast is a group of actors who get onstage to do a performance of a movie while the movie itself plays on the background, therefore casting shadows on the screen

A little Hot n Flustered history –

Three people started the predecessor to Hot n Flustered –  Evil deeds –  in 2011; a kiwi who joined a cast in Berlin on his travels, a German who moved to NZ who was immersed in German shadow casts and a kiwi who was an avid rocky fan.

Together they all decided started a NZ shadow cast production.

Evil Deeds performed at the Academy Cinema for around 2 years  – until the cinema was sold.   Hot n Flustered was born a little while later.  After rebuilding not only their fan base, but also the current cast and support crew, Hot n Flustered resurrected Rocky at The Vic (based in Devonport) around a year later after being turned away by theatres and cinemas, (for the fear of the mess that they would create).  Dedicated Rocky Fans were delighted.

Hot n Flustered have been performing Rocky every other month, primarily at The Vic with audience members returning time and time again with their quick wit and banter.  Occasionally they perform at other venues.

Branching out into something new has been on the cards for a while for this crew, and  when the Pumphouse Theater in Takapuna secured the rights to Grease the team jumped at the chance to do a different sort of production, which is where I come in.

There are worse things I could do….

This crew is warm, welcoming, funny, youthful, refreshing and they all have a vivacious quality about them.  It didn’t take long to become entrenched; watching Grease, going through the dance moves (that I was involved in), generally laughing and having fun at rehearsals. Some how during that first night, I was also drawn into the next production of Rocky Horror, as the Criminologist and fronted up for rehearsal the very next night.

The mere fact I only knew three people at the first reheasal – the Toyboy from my Mrs Robinson routine, a fellow burlesquer (Harleen Quinzell and one other person, made me anxious, but I need not have worried.

 Not many of you know this, but although I get up on stage and *cough* take items of clothing off, I am a shy person.  Sure, sure I see some of you nodding in disbelief – but it is quite true.  So for me to walk into this room; this room with loads of people I didn’t know and start to try and get to know them was quite a big deal.  That first night was daunting – I thought I would lose my lines, I thought I would muck it up, and of course the normal “will I fit in with this crowd” .   I had no need to worry.

Each rehearsal was 4 hours long – 5.30 – 9.30; twice a week on Sunday and Monday nights for around two months.  Some rehearsals were long, and some seemed to fly.  Some had disagreements, some ran smoothly.  There are clearly some natural leaders among this group, and clearly some strong opinions – but it was also clear this group is cohesive, self supporting and, well, a family of sorts.  They care for one another and support one another only as close friends can.

My role as Principal McGee in Grease was a little challenging –   To quote

“Though generally stern, she seemed to forgive minor infractions, like when she was to explain the Dance-Off rules, a student in the crowd yelled “`F’ THE RULES!!” (Listen during that scene, you can hear it). She reacted with shock, but made no move to punish (at least not onscreen)”

I didn’t envisage her as being a fun character initially, but the character is what you make it.  Although I knew I still had to uphold the expectations of a principal, I also knew as I investigated her character more that she did have some fun parts of her life and I wanted to ensure this came across on stage, in addition to her stern nature.  I loved playing this role with my burlesque Mentor, Miss Cherry Lashes ( by my side in her role as Blanch, Principal McGee’s sidekick.

My second role in Grease was brief – that of Vi, the waitress.  The main challenge I had with this was finding a waitress out fit that fitted me (alas I am not a small person).  What I loved about Vi was the very fact she gets to tell someone they look like an Easter Bunny!

The curtain call – and no I am not giving the audience the finger; it was mid flight bow.

Don’t dream it…. Be it… 

Rocky is a different kettle of fish to Grease, especially as this was by debut as the criminologist.

The crim was introduced by strutting up on stage and setting the story – right after the wedding scene.  Quick wit was thrown at me by the audience but I had the upper hand with my trusty Denton File Book telling the tale that unfolded before our eyes.

The audience members got all Wet, Hot n Flustered with their prop packs and knew (just knew) when to pull out the lines with the movie.  It was a great deal of fun ♥

Special mention to the  transvestites who were awesome. These two hot chicks were transvestites and they made the whole experience a lot more fun.

Hopelessly devoted to the time warp

Did I mention how epically awesome this crew is?  Did I also mention how proud I am to now be involved with this cast?

I am truly hopelessly devoted to the time warp here!  I am looking forward to (hopefully) being involved in many many more productions this crew is concocting, with the first one being an Independence Day flavored Rocky Horror on July 1st 2016.  I would love to see you there!

But But don’t stop there!  Check my updates and recheck – there is some pretty exciting things in the pipeline.

One thought on “Give yourself absolute pleasure …

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