Firsts Upon Firsts Upon Firsts…

RizzoYou realize living in Mexico City, there is no way at all, NO WAY, that some things you see in Mexico City you will see occur anywhere else in the world, Take for example the industrial flat bed we saw driving down aCalle Baja California at 11:00 PM, it was not an illusion seeing the guy in a white shirt, hanging on to the edge of the crane, dancing the night away as he passed our intersection. Did we really see that?  Yes you did.

Seeing Middle School’s FIRST EVER musical production, and it being Grease, was a pretty big deal.  Yet, seeing not a single seat empty, feeling the heat generated by that many people so quickly, and the energy, you could FEEL the energy all around you.  There is the nervous buzz of Middle School students, but add to that the nervous excitement you sensed in the adults, the cast behind stage, the production team and yes, stage manager Isabel Rios back for another stint, Rob McCabe begging to be even more supportive, a great Tech Crew, and a cast that is just – overflowing with let ‘er rip energy, there are many firsts with this production that you can’t help wondering how so many successful firsts can there be in a year?  

When you first see the cast printed in big, prime time style in the lobby of the FAC, you realize how big of a deal this will be.  Go into the FAC, preshow, or back stage the day of the show, hours before start time, and you see why. You feel the same energy as before any show, yet, add a little more electric to the air and you feel the energy that courses through the actors and actresses of this Middle School Drama group.  Here I was, contacted by email from one of the representatives of the Middle School Drama group, an honor really, and it was amazing being able to take part in the energy, excitement, and anticipation of another first at ASF.  

Even on the lobby, you felt the thrill of this opportunity, parent that operated Grease-themed tables ran when they knew it was picture-time, the energy and excitement was contagious.  Why not?  It was a Friday night, having the chance to witness a cult-production of a classic high school musical, and being part of something that has never occurred before – it makes a Friday night at ASF something that you hope will occur again and again, creating a place to escape to and take in something great.

As the lights began to dim and you hear the voices of a a character in Grease tell you to please “Don’t Cheat” and leave the food and excess outside of the FAC, and that show time in nearly ready, again, it is hard to believe the space that has been taken up so quickly, every seat occupied, and you can feel the heat pour over you from the sheer numbers. While sometimes you have a quieter audience than others as experienced from “Y Me…” this first show of two was not going to be a quiet one, with overheard conversations of students wanting to sit in choice locations to belt out their shouts and cheers to their favorite actors and actresses on stage.  The level of excitement and enthusiasm existed before anyone ever hit the stage.  Add to that the exciting scene of the MS principal, just as excited and motivated on the side, posing Grease style, thumbs up, almost jumping out of his skin from excitement, and you have all the ingredients for one heck of a show before it even starts.

Let’s recognize those that jumped in head first and allowed this first of firsts to occur:

Gonzalo A – It is pretty strange after seeing a production like “Y Me…” where you know almost every actor in some respect and go to a production where you do not know almost all the members and yet – Gonzalo’s brother in the Upper School made this a Doppleganger-like experience (do you KNOW how long I have waited to use that literary term as an English instructor?)   Gonzalo came off exactly as I would have thought he should and would have based on his brother’s personality, and Danny Zuko’s, but not at first.  I thought at the very beginning his slight timidness might not be able to pull it off, and yet, the clapping started.  Gonzalo kicked in, and we had Danny Zukp front and center.   In Greased lightning, ready to nag heads, even willing to join the track team, all the while struggling against the likes of Sandy.  It was exciting to see him build his momentum on stage, and build it he did through each scene, while belting out the tunes we all know and have come to know from Grease.

Montse B – What kind of individual does it take to play Ms Lynch?  I could not even imagine where to start with this character and yet, Montse takes us there and then some.  From the serious brows she gives to us from the very beginning, the no-nonsense character that is portrayed is a great mirror to the many lively characters that step forward constantly throughout the production.  She is the definite anti-climatic character with so much going around us on stage, and Montse manages to keep this character in check the whole production, something I definitely could not do throughout such a pumped up, energy-filled show.  This took much talent you would not think of and she pulled it off quite easily.

Oriana C – The one thing you notice about Jenny, and Oriana, is that they both have this infectious smile.  This is unescapable as you witness her leading the excitement from a microphone.  I want to hear her voice even louder, and think the role she is is super super exciting – I think she can be powerful in voice and character is she wants to be.

Polo C- Something happens with Polo dons a leather jacket. The greased hair, the attitude, the hysterical belonging to the T Birds, it is all there – Polo is full of personality, hysterical antics, grease for his hair and enough to show the audience and gutsiness, he makes this role great.  The leather jackets only enhance and add to this continually throughout the production.

Ale D – Okay so let’s talk about motivation off the stage. WAY before this show started, I received an email from Ale inviting me to be a part of capturing this, and it was one of the best articulated written emails I have received.  Add to that the past performances where Ale has given her all and energy, confidence, and belief in those around her, and you have a power punched dynamo, that is capable of much when she believes in it.  Watch her dances, watch her attitude grow as the production progresses and then also see in the production she takes on co role of program design, production manager, and a representative of the Middle School Drama team – nothing can be more clean that she believes in the cast around her, this production, and being supportive when it counts – just watch her and this oozes from her every pore.  Love seeing her on stage!

Alexander F – Love the blue suit and occasional DJ voice.  If he slows down the pace of his speech a little, you will get the rhymes even more as he is the easy fill in Casey Kasem DJ of the time.  The transitions between the action of the musical are well done and done very smooth.

Lauro F – Love him as a member of the T Birds, and his singing and guitar ability – you’ll love it.  Very very well done and a good part of this production, and when you think he will be an awful singer, he turns and surprises you.  Great addition to the cast. Put that guitar in his hand continually!

Sofia F – Contentious, moving in on the property of Sandy and Rizzo maybe,  but her role is played perfectly and without any flaws.  Very well done and just enough to get the attention of Sandy, Danny, and others – while the whole time pulling off the theme and role model of Rydell High.  

Julia K – Funny thing is, I remember Julia from maybe the bus ride home from school, and never realized she had a voice!  You hear and notice in in various scenes and moments, and when you do, it is very well done.  Love her quirky personality and quick to decide on what she wants, she fits right in to the diverse personalities that make up this performance.

Jacinta L – SO much personality – SO MUCH!  From the Pink hair, to the decisions of dropping out to just having so much personality, it pours out of her and makes her pretty ideal for this role.  LOVE her performance. 

Daniela O – Lots of attitude, not afraid of the spotlight or Danny, and always a controversial character, she plays the role of Cha Cha perfectly.  Her appearance and interaction with the other characters is great, and she is not afraid to flaunt who she is as a dancer and character.  LOVE.

Patricio R – Hysterical and definitely a colorful character as part of the pack.  He adds to the group a chance to harass and tease each other even more, but is confident in his role and contribution and supports the lead perfectly as well.   A great great addition to the overall cast.

Sofia S – Her angelic wings and angelic personality can be deceiving as she really gives it to Frenchy.  Yet, she starts out timid and by the end of her appearance on stage finishes strong, excellent to see.  

Luis S – As Kenickie, he is always pushing the role either with his hair, his flirting, or being “tough.”  As the other members of the pack, he also has this specific look to make his role as a fellow “T Bird” work.  

Alexia T – At first I was not sure Alexia might fit the role of Sandy, at some moments her voice was so soft and hard to hear but then you hear numbers like “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and “Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee” and you know she has a set of vocal cords that can due Sandy the character justice.  Even when she might have a fall, she continues with the role perfectly, and this shows her determination, ability, and confidence in the role,  You could not, and would not, want to ask for more.

Ana Pau V – To say she nailed it would be an understatement in her role as Marty.  HYSTERICAL.  She does an excellent job, and her expressions, confidence, and just general “I am Marty, watch out!” work so so well.  She is GREAT with the other Pink ladies and on her own is just as good, a great great pick for this role.

Daniel W – He has so much personality, he more than makes up for his height in every scene he appears in.  The timidness he brings to the stage seems natural as it should be in real life, and he adds a ton of personality to the production overall.  He will keep you in stitches laughing continually.

A HUGE Kudos to the ensemble members, Maria, Andrea, Natalia, Paloma, Fer Diaz, Daniela, Ana Sofia, Maia, Petra, and Ariadna – they made so many scenes so good, SO GOOD,  🙂  It was DYNAMITE!  And Gustavo and Patrick at the lights, while sometimes at some point in the beginning kind of shaky, did a a great job, a fantastic job, of following all the action around the stage – it was everywhere and they were there.

HOW Cool is it to see Annabella M, Isabel R, Jose H (and as driver!), Hugo, Manuel, Rosana, Teruhi as a TECH all over the place before, during, and even IN (Annabella!) this production!    This shows a synthesis of amazingness in a production, a show that maximizes the effect in two shows (the next in an hour and a half!) – and shows also how a first can be a start to something that synthesizes with something even later, and then you realize, Hmmmm, there are some bridges built here between MS and HS – that you might not have realized before.  One of the coolest things in recognizing firsts, and make you wanting to come back for the second show.   Kudos and congrats on a GREAT GREAT first night, wow!

Wait wait wait, hold the coffee – did you ever hear of the Blank Angels?  Well, not the Hells Angels, but the Black Angels, are the tech staff that are so easy to not be mentioned and yet, there they are, moving, tech-ing, adding, manipulating, supporting, and that is just FIVE gerunds I could think of.  They are ALWAYS there so never, ever, forget the Tech Club that is not just a club, they become the reality of the success you see after so many nights.

A huge number of cool things occurred that will make you not forget a first performance such as this, (WARNING< THIS IS A LONG SENTENCE) –  the scare “Greased Lightning” almost seeming as if it would come into the audience, a great announcement for First, Second and Third call as a Grease cast member, the excitement and thrills of a crows throwing flowers at the feet of the cast, and SO MUCH happened and yet, you will never forget the talent, bravado, and creativity that showed a GREAT set,  and the thrill of an amazing night, led by Rosana, Manuel, Annabella, Alejandra, and so so many more, thank you so much for the audience, the likes of the FAC managers Teruhi and Hugo, The Tech Club and the parents and Mr Williams and ASF as a whole for letting everyone know, risks and taking chances do have an outcome when you have a shared vision for success!

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About Harry Brake

Employee of ASF in Mexico City, Librarian, Media crazy! :)
This entry was posted in Drama Productions, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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