So, during the run of Benjamin Button (only one week left at Southwark Playhouse - please come see!). We have received so many lovely comments on the piece and what it has meant to people. One of the things that has been absolutely universal has been the audience's response to our extraordinary cast.
They have commented on the multiple instruments, the incredible performances, the puppetry work, the dancing and the close harmony singing... but most of all they have commented on something that is slightly more difficult to define and certainly something far harder to learn.
People have said, (and I'm paraphrasing using quotes for simplicity!) "They all seem to really care about each other." "You can see them supporting each other while they are performing." "You feel so connected to them all because they seem to be giving something of themselves to each other and us as the audience."
And everyone is absolutely right, and I know their secret, and I'm going to tell it to you now. All casting directors, directors, MD's and makers of theatre listen very close:
It sounds simple doesn't it? But really that's all there is to it.
This cast and creative team and crew (and so many of my casts for my other shows) are genuinely kind and generous people. When I was asked at a recent MMD event what my one piece of advice for any people trying to put on their own musical was, I said:
"Work with people who are kind."
There is a mythology in show business (and sadly one that is perpeptuated in reality, that in order to be successful you have to be difficult). This is simply not true. Don't buy into it. Yes, this can be a tough business and you have to be able to hold your ground and stand up for what you believe in, but that doesn't mean you can't be kind whilst doing that.
This is just a short post really, because there's not a huge amount to say beyond that. Surround yourself with kind people, practise being kinder yourself (yes it is something you can get better at!) and even if your show ends up being a pile of bollocks (which it won't) at least you'll have had a bloody good time and met some fine fine friends.