Monday 29 June 2015

Interview with the Cast of Annie

by Cheryl Loh, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2016.

The crowd cheered, the lights flashed, sudden bursts of confetti erupted out of the ceiling as the cast of Annie sing the song, “Tomorrow” for the final time. However, it wasn’t until the showing of the MMC, “Make me Cry” video, when tears truly began to well in the eyes of the performers. By the time the video had ended and the show was truly over, everyone looked much to sad to be approached. This is why I had to conduct my interview with the cast of Annie the Musical, on Whatsapp.

To begin, I asked about the audition process to which everyone pretty much replied with the same response, explaining, “For the cast, we would just have to pick 2 songs and sing and also go for the dance auditions. As for the DE (Dance Ensemble)  and VE (Vocal Ensemble), they would have to go for the dance auditions respectively”. - Caitlyn Nicole, Grace Farrell.  However, “Cast auditions are a bit tougher…..because we have to do a bit of everything which will be applied somehow later in the musical”. - Elmyzan, Mr Warbucks.

My second question seemed to bring on a case of nostalgia as the cast talked through their experience from Annie and how it compared to previous productions they’ve been involved in. Naturally, I received very positive answers, “My experience in this year’s musical production has been amazing, challenging and fun. Because I was given the opportunity to be one of the main cast performers, I had the privilege of learning all the new techniques of dance, acting and singing in detail.” - Nuha Jes Izman, Ms Hannigan and “This production experience has definitely been different compared to my previous production as I was seen as a junior before and now I am seen as one of the seniors”. - Jeanna Leia Alis Junady, Mrs Pugh. However, Caitlyn agreed the rehearsals felt different due to the presence of so many juniors, “Since we have a lot of primary students, the kids are jumping around being all energetic while the seniors just sit around and do our homework”.

Speaking of the primary students, obviously I assumed they would be hard to work with, as children are known to be restless and energized. However, Elmyzan claims that though this is true, the children were actually quite shy! “One thing I can tell you about these primary kids is that they are shy. Once you get to know them they become really friendly and they truly make you feel like a father! At first they were a bit hard to control, but as soon as they develop over the weeks, they became more mature and easier to work with”. Jeanna even goes as far to say that, “The juniors are just as professional as us, sometimes even more to be honest. They're
just as talented as all of us, I think they’re gonna make it big one day”.

I can’t imagine it’s easy to go up on stage in front of a hundred people and act as someone else, especially a character possibly twice your age. This is why for my next question, I had to ask, how they managed to learn to portray their characters. For Warbucks, Elmyzan states time is the key to his success, “It takes time and as the weeks passed I became more comfortable with my character and I learned how to separate myself from being Oliver Warbucks to being back to me again…..I watched a lot of movies with characters portraying themselves as a rich guy with such power he could do whatever he wants but still keeps his cool”. Another cast member who took to watching movies was Nuha Jes who, “At the start of this production, I did some research and watched the movie to visually see the way my character walked, talked, ate, drank and reacted to certain situations to develop my own interpretation of Ms Hannigan.”. As for bringing life to her character, Nuha says “It’s really all about transforming and bringing your character to life when you’re on stage. I like to have fun with my character and use the time I have on stage to do the wild and crazy things I wouldn’t get to do in my actual everyday routine”.

Each and every one of them described their production experience to be memorable, fun, fresh, and exciting. However, great things must come to an end, which brings me to my final question :

How does it feel knowing you’re going back to school in less than 2 days when you’ve been so committed to this for 2 months?

“Well I’d have to adjust to the feeling of not going for rehearsals and saying my lines, singing the songs, but instead get familiar with my usual school routine. It’s probably going to be a little hard at first, but I’ll probably readjust to everything in a few days”. - Caitlyn Nicole

“It saddens me that all our hard work that we put in is finally over, I am truly proud of what has happened and I hope the audience will love the musical as much as we do. I thank all my friends who came to this journey with me and I hope to see them again in future performances”. - Elmyzan

“Of course, knowing that you would have to say goodbye to the friends and teachers you’ve spent everyday with for the past two months is going to be very difficult and sad but I’m happy to say that the memories that were made and the many laughs and smiles we’ve shared is more than enough to keep me motivated in class. I have to say saying goodbye to my character was THE hardest thing I had to do. Letting go of the person you’ve transformed yourself into and made apart of yourself for the past few months was awfully painful but I feel as though the time I got to be with Ms Hannigan, I enjoyed every bit of it and I have no regrets”. - Nuha Jes Izman

“I’ve gotten so used to waking up in the morning knowing that we’ll be having rehearsal it will feel weird going back to class. I can imagine being in class and then at 9.00am, I would be asked to be excused for rehearsal before remembering there would be no rehearsal”. - Jeanna Leia Alis Junady

To the above mentioned cast members, thank you for sharing your memories with us, and to the cast of Annie as a whole, as said in every MMC, Thank You For The Magic!


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