Rehearsing the Titanic

I am currently workshopping a few scenes and songs from the very beautiful Titanic Musical, by Maury Yeston, in the studio at LSMT in Borough, just a hop from the river.

“How can the story of Titanic transfer to a good musical”, I hear you cry! Well, very successfully! Despite never playing here in London, the production opened on Broadway to great acclaim even before the film hit cinema screens worldwide in 1997 (yes before!)

Titanic the Musical won all five of its nominated TONY awards for Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book, Best Scenic Design and Best Orchestration.

Anyone listening to the music will understand why.

We have had the absolute pleasure of working with the most incredibly inspirational director for the past 3 weeks, who’s knowledge and vision, even for such an abridged workshop, is stunning. The wonderfully crafted score is being looked after by our very talented musical director who’s so careful to honour the integrity of the the piece. It’s a real pleasure working with them both.

The reason for this blog was simple really. This April marks the centenary of the maiden voyage, and subsequent sinking, of the RMS Titanic which took 1,517 souls to their end in the deathly calm Northern Atlantic ocean in the early hours of April 15th 1912. What really hits home is that each and every passenger lost to the sea was somebody’s son, daughter, brother, sister, mother, father or friend. Everyone had a story.

An actors role can be so deeply enhanced with the benefit of genuine historical source material and with this project we were spoilt for choice. A lot of my focus was spent on the backgrounds of a few of the third class passengers whose lives were humble and hope strong enough that they spent everything they owned on their passage, leaving behind their entire life in favour of a new start in America. It is very humbling to have the opportunity to portray real people of historical importance in such a dramatic piece as this. I am always so fascinated and moved by the simple fact that each story of every life on board that fateful voyage, that largest moving object of its time, that titanic vessel, can be so relevantly translated into our own emotional spectrum 100 years on.

Our time workshopping this story comes to an end on Friday but the connection made to the real men, women and children of the Titanic, who boarded with such hope and departed us so tragically, won’t ever be forgotten.

“Sail on, sail on great ship Titanic”

j. X

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