On Sunday, our whole family went to see Stomp! at the Comedy Theatre.
Stomp! is my favourite show in the world, so it was wonderful to share it with my kids, and of course they thought it was great. It is great, it's a great show. I first saw it in 1992 and I fell in love with it. When I watched it, I felt absolutely exhilarated and inspired and elated. I just wanted to be in that show. I wanted to sweep the brooms and bang the bins and stomp my feet. I still do. When I saw an audition notice the following year looking for Melbourne performers to be part of an expanded 'Large Scale' Stomp, I was beside myself with excitement and took myself along.
I still remember getting the phone call telling me I'd won a spot. The
call came through to me at Charmaine's Icecream where I was working, and when the lady said I was in, I felt
higher and happier than I'd ever felt. It was the biggest thrill. And when I hung up I turned around to see my two co-workers - one of whom was Mister Fixit - watching me with
puzzled smiles, wondering what the news was that had just visibly and
audibly made my day. We
hadn't started going out at that stage because I was still with the
moody English boy. I really like that Fixit was part of that special
day, I can still, in my mind's eye, see him smiling at me while I dropped back on to the bench in happiness.
We local performers were in the brooms routine at the start and the bins routine at the end, plus either the plastic bag routine or the tea-towels, and a few oddments involving stage clearing. I must have seen a version of the tea-towels in 1992, because I remember being absolutely determined to be chosen for that one. It involved swinging knotted tea-towels onto 40-gallon drums that had water on top, and I was chosen to perform it. I can't actually remember how they picked people for this, but I suspect I had my hand up first and highest. It was gloriously good fun to do, comic and rhythmic and wet.
I became so fit doing that show, and I had the best arm muscles of my life from all the drumming. We worked incredibly hard at rehearsals, learning our rhythms and coming to grips with our props. You could see it was easier for anyone who had drumming experience. I had no drumming experience and very little formal dance experience either. But I had had 3 years at drama school with lots of movement training, and I worked really hard at anything that didn't come easily, like the broom handle triplets: bang broom-handle on ground, step right, step left, over and over again at speed. Try it, it's harder than it sounds. At the after-show party, the creator Luke said to me Respect. You worked really hard, I could see you did.
The show was performed at the Melbourne Town Hall. It was a lot of fun running around in there, and incredible to perform in front of such a large audience.
In our down time, I learned the rudiments of cryptic crosswords in the dressing room with two others.
But I spent as much time as I could peeking through gaps in the stage to watch the masters at work.
I couldn't get enough of all the routines - the zippo lighters, the sticks, the matchsticks, the buckets.
A review in The Age mentioned the local cast, saying we were lithe and beautiful, mostly.
A special Stomp shirt was made for us all with that quote on the back. I still have it. It's tatty, and the signatures from the proper Stomp people have all but faded away. I can't throw it out though.
Being in Stomp! changed my life. When it was over I knew I wanted the rhythm to go on, and not long after that a woman walked into Charmaine's Icecream to put up a poster for tap dance classes. Stomp creator Luke Cresswell had taps on the bottom of his boots. So I went along to try a class and have been tapping ever since.
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