by Camilla Niebling (Guest Blogger)
My first introduction to the story came when one of the television stations did a “John Travolta” marathon when I was eleven years old where they played the movie Grease followed by Saturday Night Fever (that’s right the one that is rated R in the US). Needless to say I only got through the first five minutes before I realised it was something I should not be watching and turned it off and simply forgot about it.
Fast forward to when I was fourteen and my school took me to see Saturday Night Fever the Australian musical production, which was playing at QPAC. I returned to my dance teacher and told her that I wanted to be a professional dancer from watching that show however, life gets in the way and after moving to Rockhampton you sometimes forget the dreams you make for yourself as new ones come in and opportunities come and go.
Go forward another six years and where else do I find myself but working with Dale Pengelly in Blood Brothers who played the role of Monty in the Australian production. We began reminiscing about the show, the music, the characters, he gave me the sheet music to a couple of the songs and it was all very strange because even though I hadn’t strived for it, I found myself working in the musical theatre industry.
You could say that this show has been stalking me for a long time and I would say that you were right however it wasn’t until I was in the audition process for this that I actually went back to the original movie (now old enough) and there was one element to this story that I had been too young to understand.
At first glance this story might seem similar to that of Fame, Footloose or Flashdance (all those movies that start with an F). I thought it was another story about someone who just wants to dance. How glad I was to find out I was wrong! This story is not about a guy who wants to dance. It is so much more than that. At it is heart it is a coming of age story of not just Tony, but for Annette, Stephanie, and the Faces. It is the story of youths transitioning from the innocence of youth to the “real world”. Some of them fail at this and they make mistakes but the potential for a better life is always there with the right choices. To me, that makes it all the more realistic and intriguing journey then someone wanting to make it big as a dancer.
I love this story and it’s a surreal to have something like this follow you around only then to one day actually be a part of it. However, this time I feel like it has come around for a reason, like now I am at a point where I understand this story much more than five, six or ten years ago. If you think this is just another dance show then you need to come along and see that you are just as wrong as I was.