Into The Swing with Jouvan Fucinni - Rehearsal Room Diary

Posted on 21 August 2014

Your weekly Belgrade Theatre bulletin from the Propaganda Swing rehearsal room with Assistant Director, Jouvan Fuccini

Bill Constant: ‘Everyone knows that the Germans love their music….and it isn’t just the marching tunes they dig. It ain’t all Lederhosen and Oompahpah. Sometimes they move their feet to a different beat. I’m talking about the music they call hot…jungle jump…jitterbug…the sound that swings….that cacophonous conspiracy against the white race…I’m talking about Jazz’

As much as Propaganda Swing is about the Second World War it’s also about the power of music.

When I used to think of jazz, what sprang to mind were free flowing improvised trios in New Orleans and beat necks in New York. In my mind it was lounge music, not club music. But man is jazz music that makes your feet move . That’s the music of Propaganda Swing. It makes you want to get up and dance!

And so this week I have been on bit of a music history lesson personally, reading up at home and listening to everything I can find on Spotify. It’s official, I’ve been struck with the jazz bug.

Bill “you just don’t hear jazz anymore… and you forget what it feels like… Then…you hear it and…
Lala “It’s like remembering your alive…”

Working through each of the music numbers has been incredibly exciting. With a skilled cast of actors who are also musicians and singers, the first task with Musical Director Hilary Brooks was to set the keys for all the singers. Next up was the task of tweaking arrangements for the various instruments the actors play live, resulting in a hilarious moment where Clara Darcy (playing the part of Anita Spada) plays the trumpet, sings, plays the trombone, sings, and switches back to the trumpet in quick succession. The juggling of skills is really impressive. Even my guitar Bev has snuck into rehearsals where performer Jonny Bower has been putting her through her paces in search of a period appropriate instrument. I’m happy to say she received the seal of approval!

After mornings spent working on the musical numbers, our Director Hamish Glen starts to marry the play and music together slowly in collaboration with Hilary and our writer Peter Arnott, who is also here for the week. Hamish works on defining the parameters of the play’s world as our protagonist Bill Constant moves between the past of his story and present of his radio play.

Hamish works in broads strokes with the performers, preferring to piece the scenes together first before returning later to work in more detail.

And so by the end of week, we reached the end of Act One.