They Can Dance, They Can Jive! Thank You For the Music, Senior Years

They Can Dance, They Can Jive! Thank You For the Music, Senior Years

After months of hard work, and despite many challenges, our Senior Year drama students made our Grammarian community proud with their enchanting production of Mamma Mia! 

Before the cast took to the stage for opening night, excitement was already palpable – with the shows selling out in record time; an apt reward for months of rigorous preparation. 

The hard work continued until the curtain rose; backstage buzzed with activity as microphones were tested, and costumes and props were given their final checks. With her headset firmly on, Stage Manager Isabella (Issy) Troise (Year 11) was in steady command behind the scenes. 

Issy Troise as stage manager.

The build up to opening night proved all the more frantic when lead performer, Amaya Martinez-Doyle (Year 12), who played Donna Sheridan, was struck by influenza and unable to perform. 

Ever adaptive, the Drama department improvised to find last-minute understudies. For Thursday’s show, professional performer Lizzie Matjacic was called in. Meanwhile, Friday night saw Year 12 student Alexis Saddler jump in as Donna, before Amaya returned for the final show.  

“I am really proud of my backstage crew for rising to the occasion and quickly adapting to overcome every challenge we faced,” Issy tells us. 

“From a tech standpoint, I felt incredibly confident and assured that the team in the lecture theatre would be doing their best to ensure the show ran as smoothly as possible. 

Testing: one, two.

“Thanks to Ms Thomas (our amazing co-choreographer and floater on the nights of the shows), I was able to communicate effectively with her through the show to ensure both teams, in the wings and front of house, were working as one. I am also greatly appreciative of Mr Kaliviotis, Ms Hozynka and Ms Wilson for helping to run backstage.” 

Esther Nastri (Year 11), who played Tanya Chesham-Leigh, confirms that “many difficulties arose” with Amaya’s absence. 

“We all had to adapt in a (very!) short amount of time!” she explains. “When we got told on the day of the first show that we’d be missing our Donna, more than a little chaos ensued – and some extra nerves slowly crept in throughout that afternoon. To say the pressure was on, as three ‘Dynamo’ responsibilities fell to the remaining two of us, would be an understatement!” 

Esther Nastri as Tanya.

Despite the spanner in the works, our Grammarians rose to the challenge with grace, determination and talent, putting on four epic shows. 

“With the support of Emily Walters (Rosie) by my side, we taught two different ‘replacement Donnas’ the blocking, harmonies and choreography in the few hours before the shows that followed in the evenings,” Esther says. 

“Our own Lexi Sadler, our knight in shining armour, impressively performed two shows as Donna without a hiccup in sight, so as you can imagine we were all incredibly grateful!” 

While every number had the audience captivated, the students’ magnetising rendition of Voulez-Vous epitomised the talent of our Grammarians. Impressive vocals were accompanied by a polished dance routine, glistening costumes, and bewitching acting.  

The show can’t go on without the backstage crew.

“There’s truly nothing that compares to that feeling of being on stage, getting to share with an audience a show that’s been a culmination of months and months of hard work, practice and dedication from the entire cast and creatives.”

At the end of it all, Mamma Mia! taught the Year 11 student “to be more welcoming of change”. 

“There is no better way to gain experience of things going wrong than actually living it and dealing with its challenges.

“I believe myself and the entire cast have the newfound ability to better face any curveball that’s thrown at us for our foreseeable (performing) future!”