by Sarah Troxler
The fourth wall: in stage tradition, it’s a magical entity. It’s that barrier between performer and audience that is rarely intended to be broken. It’s the proverbial thin line between fantasy and reality, setting the scene of the story, and pulling you into a world that is not completely your own. The fourth wall is the edge of the stage, really, completing the three other physical walls of the performance space and encasing the story in its own little world. Audience members are invited into this world where fiction becomes truth and anything is possible, to ride along for the story with all its emotional twists and turns as the plot develops. We dream along with the heroes and heroines. We survive failures and successes, jeer at the sinister antagonist, cry at defeat and sorrow, yearn for love. In two glorious hours, enveloped in the sights and sounds of the stage, we take a journey that exceeds time and space. Musical theatre: entertainment at its finest.
From a young age, I learned about the various aspects of the stage as a performer, backstage hand, and musician. The thrill in preparing an elaborate project is in working with a team that includes a director and choreographer, set designer, costumers and make-up artists, actors and musicians, lighting and sound technicians – each working together to present a story and entertain the audience. All the preparation and anticipation culminates in the performance, when everyone comes together to make the dream a reality. The synergy between those working parts cannot be equaled!
Musical theatre is thriving on Boston’s South Shore, and I think there is no better place to experience it this summer than at South Shore Conservatory (SSC). On July 30, audiences will be whisked away into another world as we celebrate the brilliant works of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II with A Grand Night for Singing, a musical theatre revue. Truly a community endeavor, this performance, featuring favorite tunes such as Surrey With A Fringe On Top from Oklahoma!, Some Enchanted Evening from South Pacific, and Hello, Young Lovers from The King and I, showcases volunteer chorus members from across the South Shore, and principal characters and instrumentalists from SSC’s faculty.
My role as pianist in A Grand Night for Singing allows me to work alongside each of the working parts in our concert presentation – chorus, principals, and instrumentalists. It is very similar to my role as music director in several local community theatre groups in and around Hingham. I am fortunate to have one of the most satisfying jobs, because not only do I take part in each step of the rehearsal process in the months prior to performance, I also experience the thrill of being a performer and getting carried away by the music, lights, and story. It’s truly the best of both worlds!
Join South Shore Conservatory as its Evenings Under the Stars concert series presents A Grand Night for Singing: The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, on Saturday, July 30, 7 pm in the Jane Carr Amphitheater at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham. Tickets for either the lawn or the pavilion are available online at http://www.sscmusic.org or by calling 781-749-7565, ext. 22. You are sure to walk away from this performance dancing on a bright cloud of music and whistling a happy tune!
Pianist Sarah Troxler has been with South Shore Conservatory since 2012.