Stage Struck is one of the many outtakes from my novel Just Say It! and it is one of the few semi-autobiographical segments.
I was at boarding school from eleven up and, at fifteen, I tried to write a musical. 😂😂 It was a skit on my favourite musical at that time, South Pacific – which remains up there with my all-time faves. The difference between my musical and my MC’s was that she got her project off the ground. I failed to persuade pubescent English public school girls to audition for the parts of the heavily tattooed sailors. My teenage theatrical exploits failed to make the final draft anyway.
At the age of fifteen, Lisa believed she was going to be a one-woman equivalent of Rodgers and Hammerstein II and mounted a production of her first musical. South Sea Island Blues was a skit on one of her favourite shows, South Pacific. She auditioned feverously, despite the lack of interest initially shown by pubescent British public schoolgirls to play one the eight heavily tattooed sailors, she got her show on the road, well, as far as the stage in the Assembly Hall.
It was always Lisa’s intention to cast herself in the leading role of Nollie Fairtree, having learned Nellie Forbush’s part in South Pacific off by heart by the age of six, when she performed Honey Bun to any easily bamboozled audience. So she managed to sneak that song into her own show, as a tribute to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.
Unfortunately, her self-indulgent casting caused some friction between herself and Connie. Unbeknown to all her friends, Connie was harbouring an ambition to make acting her career. A goal that was harshly squashed after Connie left school and auditioned for RADA.
Lisa wrote some big tunes for this one-off performance, especially the finale number. Predictably called South Sea Island Blues, when the cast and ensemble (Virginia on piano, Cassie on double bass, Stubby on guitar, and Lawsie on drums) got the audience – most of the village had been coerced into going, the rest of the school, of course, and all their teachers – on their feet and singing along.
I’ve got m’look, I’ve got the sun, I’ve got m’number one tan,
I’ve got the South … sea … island bluoooooes!
But it was Lisa’s performance of Honey Bun, that stole the show, much to Connie’s pique. The highlight of her thespian career as it brought the house down, as well as the curtains. After several curtain calls, the curtains finally fell off the rail and into the audience.
Lisa was thrilled with how the show had gone, especially as it raised £100 for charity.
After the initial post-production fervour, it was time to knuckle down and study for her O’Levels, as her dream of winning a Grammy for writing a musical began to slip away.
South Sea Island Blues was Lisa Grant’s first and last musical theatre production. She became less stage-struck and more drawn towards becoming the next Germane Greer.
Here are a few more Outtakes… fresh of the cutting room floor!