EDGES… A Song Cycle… A Blog…

David Fick, Luella Holland, Roland Perold and Shannyn Fourie in EDGES

So tonight is the first and only preview for the South African premiere production of Edges, a song cycle by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. I thought it might be a fun idea to devote what time I have for blogging this month to creating a little “time capsule” of my experiences with the show as it runs. I have a feeling this is going to be a great journey: the stories we get to tell are so personal and I am looking forward to sharing them with audiences.

I think that I will spend some time looking at each song as the run continues. I think it is so easy to connect to all of them and I would love to hear your stories, dear reader, in the comments box if you have some kind of special connection to one of the songs in the show.

I guess a good place to start would be with the opening number, “Become”. This song features all four cast members and exists in several versions, each with lyrics that differ to varying degrees. At the audition, I sang:

I’m nineteen and male
I play squash and rackquetball
I have an allergy to grapefruit and tomatoes
My sister goes to Yale
I screwed Jen from down the hall
Over spring break at a beach house in Barbados.

The revised score drops these specific, anecdotal references for a more general approach and, no longer nineteen, Man 1 ends up being a college graduate working in some kind of dead end retail job, disconnected from all the dreams he had for his life. A universal conundrum. How did I get here from there? And how do I get there from here? Trapped in a life full of ‘little’, rather than significant, moments repeating day after day, knowing that something must be missing.

I must admit, opening the show with this seemingly simple little verse and chorus is daunting! There is so much to put across: the introduction of this guy who has a boylike charm but such incredible insecurities, the very real fear of never being able to move past those insecurities so as to realise the dreams that are locked up inside, and the smile that covers it all. Of course, the material offers a good foundation by providing all that conflict with which one can play. This is pretty useful, as I think this is the least – I don’t know quite how to describe the sensibility around it – universal (?) of the songs in the show in terms of the storytelling, although – of course – the emotional core of what is being said connects us all on stage and connects each of us in the show to the song itself.

Random note: there are such great harmonies in this song! Especially what has become known as “the ABBA” in our little company, viz the section that begins “Do I really want to see?” after all four solo sections are complete.

Anyway, the preview awaits. Hope the response to the show is good.

(Edges runs at the Kalk Bay Theatre from 1 – 25 June 2011. For tickets and more information, visit the Kalk Bay Theatre website Edges is directed by Paul Griffiths, with musical direction by Garth Tavares, and features Roland Perold, Shannyn Fourie, Luella Holland and David Fick).

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