Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The Oliver Chronicles: Installment Two - Oom Pah Pah
Well, at last night's rehearsal, we blocked one of the most fun ensemble numbers in the whole show: Oom Pah Pah (because who doesn't have crap-loads of fun pretending to be drunk and wild onstage, eh?)
So, for those of you who aren't familiar with the show (or this song), this is the scene in which almost all of the characters and ensemble members are chillin' out at a seedy disgusting bar, when Nancy shows up and leads them in a song about drinking and prostitution and many other seedy disgusting things. Because Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney (a.k.a. Dickon and I) became engaged several scenes earlier, HDT decided to give us some "business" with Nancy during this song. The verse in which this happens goes thus:
Mister Percy Snodgrass
Would often have the odd glass
But never when he thought anybody could see.
Secretly he'd buy it,
And drink it on the quiet,
And dream he was an Earl
Wiv a girl on each knee!
Then, also in that scene, Bill Sykes enters and sings a scary song about how evil he is. People onstage kept asking HDT whether or not they should try to stand up to Bill or not show fear. To each question, HDT responded "No. Because he WILL kill you." After a while we decided that this would have to be Bill Sykes' catch phrase. "Bill Sykes: Because he WILL kill you."
The kid who plays Bill is having soooo much fun with that part (especially because of all of the people in the entire school, he is the last person anyone would be afraid of...)
So, yes. That rehearsal was particularly entertaining for all of us. One of my favorite moments was when HDT was sort of setting us up for the beginning of the scene by explaining where we were: "This is a disgusting, seedy, tiny little bar somewhere in the city, where the theives and prostitutes and pretty much all of the characters go in their free time. This is also where Fagin's gang [of pick-pocket boys between the ages of 9-18] hangs out, because, well let's face it. Nobody's taking care of you guys, so nobody really cares what you do or where you hang out."
At this point in the speech I proclaimed to the people sitting near me "I blame the schools!"
(When I recounted this moment to Rev. Guinevere, she said I totally had to blog that.)
(Also, I found that picture from a random production of "Oliver!" and thought to myself "Drinking, merriment, small children... Yup. That covers all the bases.")
Also, Rev. Guin and I happened to notice something peculiar about all of the plays that HDT picks for our school. "Man of LaMancha" (leading character is a prostitute) "Les Miserables" (a song called "Lovely ladies" about prostitutes) "Cabaret" (almost every female character is a hooker or stripper or some other unseemly profession) and now "Oliver!" (see above description of "Oom Pah Pah.") When I asked Mr. Baker about this, he just gave a very disgusting, creepy response, and even though I know he was joking I would still prefer not to repeat it...
So, yes. To put it quickly, this is going to be a very interesting musical....