It is tough work putting on a musical. Young adults have to take care of regular schoolwork, they need to prepare for their final exams, and they need to plan what they want to do after graduation. There is, moreover, such a thing as life outside of school, too. And yet, these students volunteered to put in months of work and countless hours of rehearsals in their free time for the sake of four shows.
By Karolina Kowalska (photos: Daniel Nussbaumer)
What makes musicals special is their challenge of combining acting, dancing and singing. After the first danced-and-sung numbers the students are out of breath. „Again!“ The cast, breathing hard, set up and begin again.
What is asked of the cast of the musical is dedication. I have high expectations and the students know it. There is a lot of feedback, praise is sparse. Nonetheless, for some reason these young people do not turn away from challenge. Instead, they believe that what we are saying and doing is targeted at bringing out the best in us. We are pushed, pulled, convinced, criticised, changed, arranged, combined, observed, bullied and cajoled – in short, it really is a challenge for everyone. When the curtain rises, I want my students to be ready. I want them to give their best and be proud of how far they have come.
Yes, there are times when everyone thinks: „This will not work“, „We are not there yet”, “We do not have enough time”. There is, however, also that moment when you are standing on stage, the spotlight on you, making you blind, the energy coursing through your veins, you are out of breath after the last number, and there it is, what you have been working and waiting for, what makes all your efforts worthwhile: the thunderous applause from the awed audience, marvelling at what you have accomplished.
Of course, that is not all you take from the musical course. The teamwork, the cooperation, the co-dependence, the organisation, the trust – these are all things you will never forget and which will always accompany you. Nevertheless, that last moment on stage, just before the lights go out and you return to the real world, that is the moment when you know you are part of something magical.