As the curtains fall and the lights go down, we make our way off the stage. My heart racing, I feel a mixture of relief and sadness – relief that everything went well, but sadness that the experience has come to an end.
This moment may seem familiar to those who have experience on stage, but for me it brings me back to last December and the closing night of Avenue Q, the 2016 Trinity Hall musical. I was lucky enough to be in the cast for the musical, and it was by far one of the highpoints of my year.
Having always wanted to be part of a musical but never having had the courage to audition, I decided that I would start off my time at Trinity by stepping out of my comfort zone and I am so glad I did. The Halls musical for me was the perfect way to make friends with like minded people, and to share an experience that we would remember for years to come.
Beginning in 2008 with a production of Oklahoma, the Halls musical has gone from strength to strength, due in no small part to the support of former Warden, Brendan Tangney. In recent years audiences have been transported to 1960’s Baltimore in a production of Hairspray, they have watched as 17 talented dancers fought for a part in a Broadway show in a production of A Chorus Line and they have learned that puppets aren’t just for kids’ shows with last year’s production of Avenue Q.
Senior Freshman student Maeve Carew, who was involved in last year’s production Avenue Q, described how “people learned so much about musicals and performance techniques from others their age” given that some people had little to no experience on stage, and some had “studied drama and music, and had won awards”. She continued: “It’s important to show that Halls’ first year students are a huge asset to the Trinity community”.
“I think my favourite part was the actual performance. It was a fantastic feeling after putting in months of hard work together”, says Ben Steacy, who played Brian in Avenue Q. He went on to point out how many of those who took part in the Halls musical in first year, himself included, are now taking part in the Trinity Musical Theatre society’s production of Evita, something he says he would not have done had he not been part of the Halls musical.
“It’s a musical completely run by a group of 17-20 year olds, purely out of passion and love of what they do”, explains Eoin Hannaway. “It allows people to create art and have an outlet for the stress of college life”. No stranger to the Halls musical, having served as musical director for A Chorus Line and director for Avenue Q, Hannaway is back this year to direct the production of the Sondheim-Lapine classic, Into the Woods.
When asked about what draws him back to the Halls musical year after year, he admitted that he had planned to end his run last year after the success of Avenue Q but that it “didn’t take much coaxing” to persuade him to return for another year. “It’s hard not to love the Halls musical”, he added.
The tradition of the Halls musical continues this year with a production of Into the Woods, a musical that intertwines the story of a childless baker and his wife, with that of many familiar fairy tale characters, such as Jack, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Rapunzel. Fans of the Disney adaption starring James Corden, Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick are said to be in for a treat with the musical, which is definitely not a Disney story.
Junior Freshman student Covi Castellanos, who is a member of the cast, said that though she was hesitant at first about auditioning for the musical, she now sees it as the “greatest decision ever”, as it has allowed her to meet so many people that share her love of music.
Speaking about this year’s choice of musical, Hannaway described it as a “masterpiece”. He continued: “At its essence, it is a story about people from across the societal class divides thrown together to get through life. Into the Woods is classic fairy tales, but not as you know them”.
Into the Woods will be performed on December 6th at 7:30pm and December 7th at 4:30pm and 7:30pm. Tickets are €5 for students, €10 for adults and will be available at the door.