Every few months, we like to turn the spotlight on an AOS member and find out a little more about them. This time it’s Kevin Pope.
When did you first get involved in musical theatre and where was this?
I was introduced to musical theatre from a very young age as my mum and dad were both regular performers with the Exmouth Operatic Society. I would see all of their shows and often used to go along to rehearsals too. I never thought that I would actually go on stage myself. However, when the Society put on South Pacific, they were looking for youngsters to play the parts of Emile de Becque’s children, and that’s when I landed my first role – Jerome de Becque, at the tender age of eight!
How would you describe AOS?
AOS are a friendly and talented bunch. They have fun at rehearsals and are dedicated enough to know that they also have to (and do!) work hard to ensure that the finished product – the show that the public will see – is as polished and as it can be.
What attracts you to a part?
The part has to be a strong character – someone to whom the audience will react. Normally that is why I enjoy playing comedy roles, but that is not always the case. I also enjoy playing disagreeable characters, such as Jigger in Carousel, or Ted Blacklock, the militant union leader in The Hired Man. Another thing that is important is that the part must not require any serious dancing. I can move, but precise dancing has never been my forte!
How do you prepare for auditions?
I look at the audition piece and try to find a part in it that, if portrayed in a particular way, could get a strong response from the audience. I will then concentrate on this and develop it as much as I can. Having said that, I often have great ideas as to how I will say a particular line, but when it comes to the audition, nerves come into play, and it often doesn’t come out the way I intended it!
Do you enjoy rehearsals?
I do. It’s great fun to be “working” with friends, putting everything together to create a show. I enjoy seeing how the show develops over the rehearsal period. From the initial singing rehearsals, where we learn the individual voice parts, and then combine them to produce full harmonies. Also, how often chaotic early dance steps miraculously evolve into well-ordered dance routines. (Or, in my case, evolve into slightly-less-chaotic dance steps!).
Do you find that your character changes during the rehearsal process?
Yes, the character evolves over the duration of the rehearsals. You start with initial ideas of how to play the role, and during rehearsals you may experiment with ways to say or portray certain aspects. Some things work and some don’t, and so you try to incorporate all the best bits.
Do you enjoy show week?
Absolutely. Show week is the culmination of all the hard work. I usually get nervous before first going on to the stage. However, once you have come on, and things are going well, the feeling is tremendous. It is always great when you get that first laugh from the audience. You know that you have made a connection. This encourages you to put more into your performance, which is then rewarded by more reaction. It is a two-way thing. When you have a good relationship with the audience the feeling can be awesome.
Is there a part you’ve always wanted to play?
There are a couple of parts that my dad played which I would really like to take on: Fagin in Oliver! and Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. And of course, if we ever had the chance to do Les Miserables, I would love to play Thernadier, the innkeeper.
How would you describe your ideal part?
My ideal part would:
~ Be a strong character
~ Have some great comedy content and memorable songs
~ Not have too many lines to learn
~ Not require any precise dance moves
~ Have at least one drunk scene!