This hilarious one act musical comedy was an original Broadway success, nominated for six Tony Awards and going on to win two. Based in a small town American school, this is the tale of six overachieving adolescents vying to be the champion speller in the battle of their lives. This month, the ARC will be bringing the spelling bee hysteria to a stage near you.
One comical element of the musical is the over the top personalities of each character. There is the ambitious fat boy,who has a “magic foot” and traces the words he has to spell with his mystical extremity, not to mention the previous year’s winner who finds his teenage sexual urges a huge distraction, singing “My unfortunate erection is spoiling my perfection.”
Each prodigy takes to the stage, where they are eliminated one by one through a gruelling process. The official bee pronouncer provides another aspect of comedic styling, providing a definition of the word and placing it in a completely inappropriate sentence. “The show is fun, light hearted and humorous,” admits director Carl Whiteside.
The casting of the contestants is one of the most interesting aspects of the production. The spellers are school aged children, the oldest being no more than 14 years old, yet the actors who play them are adults. “This has been one of the most challenging aspects of the production for each cast member. When we become adults, we forget what it was like to behave and talk like a child. For example, if you observe a child for a few minutes, you will notice that they never stop moving. The performers need to mimic movements and facial expressions of children to make this casting more realistic,” explains Whiteside.
A unique aspect of the production is the element of audience participation. “Something I really enjoyed about performing in this show is that I know each performance will be different,” says Ashleigh Psaila, who plays Logainne Schwartz and Grubenierre. The director believes that the cast are well prepared for a variety of contingent scenarios on the day of the performance, “we spent a lot of time in each rehearsal improving each performer’s improvisation skills.”
Undoubtedly, the unknown variable in each performance will make this show infinitely more fun and exciting. Although Whiteside refrained from revealing in what form the audience will be engaged during the show, theatregoers should expect to be surprised.
You will be spelling r-e-g-r-e-t if you don’t see this production!
For all show enquiries and ticket bookings please call 0435 062 087 or email [email protected] or visit www.arc-theatre.com for online bookings.
Venue: Banyule Theatre, Buckingham drv, Heidelberg.
Friday February 8th – 8pm (Gala opening*)
Saturday February 9th – 8pm
Thursday February 14th – 8pm
Friday February 15th – 8pm
Saturday February 16th – 8pm
Gala Opening – $33*
Adult – $29
Concession – $26
Groups(10+) – $26