Work experience student Cleo McCabe tells us about her week observing rehearsals for An Ideal Husband.
I spent my work experience week with the cast and creatives of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband. It was a great opportunity, and I learnt so much from my time at MTC. It was great to see what a creative working environment looked like, and how many people with different jobs were involved. My week at MTC showed me what it would be like working in the theatre, along with what kind of career I could pursue in the future.
When I entered HQ for the first time, I could tell by the welcoming smiles and kind people that I would have a great time. My week generally consisted of observing rehearsals, where the actors and director were hard at work. I was very impressed by how effectively they worked, and the talent and enthusiasm each person showed when acting out scenes. Rehearsals usually followed a routine where the director would pull apart the script with the actors to consider emotion, the time period and how certain lines should be presented (e.g. which symbols should be stressed to convey a particular idea). They would later jump up to try it out on set so they could play with spacing and props. The director (Dean Bryant) communicated his ideas with the actors, whilst still asking them about their thoughts and opinions on the tone of the scenes. The actors were all extremely talented and lovely people who worked hard to bring the show to life. The atmosphere of the rehearsal room was fun and enjoyable to be a part of, and everyone could still have a laugh whilst they worked.
During the week, I also had a tour of MTC HQ where I saw all the amazing behind-the-scenes work that the staff had been doing in various departments. I learnt about the costuming, where everything was made on-site, the prop store, accessories and other backstage work. I was lucky enough to be able to talk to a few of the actors about their work, which was fascinating, and briefly to the set designer, and voice and dialect coach. I spent many lunch breaks with the intern who told me all about her work becoming a stage manager, what it entailed and what she did at school to get to where she was. I learnt that she, along with one of the actors, had also done work experience at MTC, which was very inspiring to hear.
Some of the highlights of the week were the full run-throughs of Acts I and II, where the whole cast was there, the music was playing and some costumes and props were pulled out. It was very exciting to watch how all the scenes rehearsed in that week were pulled together into a smooth running play. I was impressed by how well the actors knew their lines and characters – enough to be able to do a run through after just two weeks of rehearsals. There was also a marketing video shoot in the rehearsal room earlier in the week, which was fun to see because I didn’t know that sort of thing happened. On Wednesday afternoon, while the actors were fitted with their costumes, I went to see another MTC production (The House of Bernarda Alba). I met another work experience student and we watched the play together. It was good to see a finished MTC production, and this one was especially interesting to watch.
I was very sad to leave at the end of the week because I had grown so close with everyone, but I had such a remarkable week and learnt so much from the people working there and from observing An Ideal Husband. It was an unforgettable experience, and I hope to visit again soon.
Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband plays at Arts Centre Melbourne from 16 July.
Learn more about our Work Experience Program.