Smash-hit musical Hamilton took Lin-Manuel Miranda seven years to write. That’s pretty standard if you want your show to make the big time on Broadway or The West End. Auckland theatre company The Other People are doing things a little differently.
The Other People’s original musical, Schlunted, stars Fin McLachlan from King’s College and Jocelyn Scott, a Year 10 student at Epsom Girls. We caught up with them in between their busy study and rehearsal schedules, to ask a few questions about the show.
So what’s different about Schlunted compared to other shows?
Fin: “Not much, to be honest. It’s like other musicals with a storyline, two acts and twenty songs. The only difference it’s all being completed in a freakishly small amount of time.”
Jocelyn: “The whole musical is being written and rehearsed in 100 days, which our producer Hadley Taylor believes is some kind of a New Zealand record. Each rehearsal we count down the days until opening night. In a way, that sort of wakes you up. Makes you learn your lines faster and adapt to changing everything all the time. It’s kind of hectic but also relaxing.”
Fin: “The main difference, compared to other shows I’ve been in, is actually seeing this beast being created. For example, we’d be rehearsing a scene outside while another is being blocked upstairs, and at the same time our Musical Director Brayden Jeffrey is writing a song with someone else. It’s pretty full-on, but because of it everyone’s switched on and organised. It’s impressive how smooth it all runs.”
That sounds pretty intense. So what’s Schlunted all about, and where did the name come from?
Jocelyn: “Basically, Schlunted is the funny story of a group of friends who go camping but everything goes hilariously wrong. I can’t really tell you much more than that without giving anything away.”
Fin: “Right. Because events are always taking a turn for the worse, it’s natural for the characters to swear. To tone down the amount of swearing in the show, the writers thought it would be funnier if we made up our own swear words. Someone came up with the word ‘schlunted’ and it just stuck!”
That’s funny! So the end of your show is being written while you’re rehearsing. That would make most actors nervous. Do you have a lot of performing experience, and how did you get started?
Fin: “When I was five years old, the school where my mum works needed a young boy to be in their production of Tommy. This was technically my first performance, though as a blind, deaf and dumb infant I can’t say I did much. I got properly introduced to the stage in the cast of Auckland Theatre Company’s 2009 production of Oliver!”
“Some of the most fun I’ve had on stage was playing the lead, Bobby Strong in Urinetown, King’s College’s show this year. I was also a soloist in Stimmung Choir sings Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief, which was pretty awesome.”
Jocelyn: “I was forced into doing a solo for an end of year preschool concert when I was four. I sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and I haven’t stopped since then.”
“Most recently I won a scholarship to attend a musical theatre summer school in America and Canada, which is pretty different to Epsom Girls! I was working with top Broadway performers and directors and I got to perform at New York’s Apollo Theatre twice. It was an amazing feeling to stand on the same stage as legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Little Richie and many more.”
That’s incredible! Congratulations. It looks like you both have bright futures in performing arts. Will you be taking anything away from your time in Schlunted?
Jocelyn: “Definitely. Our director Adam Spedding, composer Brayden Jeffrey, and producer Hadley Taylor tell us everything that’s going on. They work in a really professional way that gets things done without getting too serious.”
Fin: “Absolutely. Because everything is being done in 100 days, we have all had to work together and really fast. Hadley, Brayden and Adam have shown me how to work efficiently with really tight deadlines, while having a lot of fun!”
Schlunted runs at TAPAC theatre in Auckland from November 2nd to November 5th. Tickets are available from www.tapac.org.nz, and you can keep up with The Other People’s progress as they count down to their 100 day deadline on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.SHARE THIS POST...