As the musical improv troupe Some Sing About Mary rehearse for Local Heroes this Friday night, we caught up with musical director and musician Simon Hembra, to find out more about his role and rehearsals.
How did SSAM form and how did you get involved?
SSAM came together as part of the Unscripted Players big November show. The problem was that as it was a musical they needed someone to play the music. Fortunately the director of UP knew I could play a little piano and asked me how to help out. I'd never tried anything like it before, but I decided to take the risk. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
How does music fit with the show?
I'm very comfortable in the shadows of the stage providing the improvised music that the rest of my troupe sing along to so beautifully. I love the power of the piano though. Emotions are ten times stronger with a bit of underscoring to support them.
How have rehearsals been going?
Brilliantly! With some wonderful coaching from Imogen Palmer we've really started to focus in on the big bold emotions and vulnerability. A rehearsal we had just this morning almost brought me to tears, but then I'm a big romantic softy at heart.
Any fun new exercises and techniques you have learnt or been playing with?
We've created our own version of Zip Zap Boing made entirely of Rom Com tropes. Lots of looking in each other's eyes and declaring our love.
What are you looking forward to trying out/doing on the night?
I've got my eyes out for the big bold offers, the real moments of emotions that allow the piano to swell up, building the emotions and supporting the actors at their most vulnerable and honest moments.
What is the best thing about being part of SSAM?
SSAM has given me some amazing new friends who are all about supporting each other and finding the love and joy in each moment. And even better, I have a reason to play the piano even more than I used to.
Simon Hembra, Musical Director
Local Heroes is on Friday 18th May, 8pm. Doors 7.15pm. Tickets are £7 and can be bought HERE.