Off-Cut Fifty Four

Jackie Rae Lythgo

JACKIE RAE LYTHGO was contracted to understudy all the main parts in the Sydney production of “25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee” and to play Marina Prior’s role every Tuesday night. She only had 2 actual rehearsals for this role the rest of her performance preparation has been done through observation and note taking. She played that role on the first Tuesday of the season but on opening night, Thursday, she spent the entire day getting prepared for another female role Logan Swartzandgrubinerre which she had never been rehearsed in.

“I surprised myself again. Can you believe it????? I did really well. I've been reviewed on both roles which I've attached and received many accolades.”

Here is her own description of how she manages to survive these challenging performance circumstances.

BELOW IS WHAT SHE WROTE - it was a personal email to The Rehearsal Room but the content is so informative I have decided to publish it - Richard Sarell.

Hey again,

umm... I can honestly say that I don't allow myself any moment to stop and think as "Jackie Rae", I never stop listening to everything around me... not for a second. I listen and process every little thing to ensure I stay in the moment as my character. I also process all problems and questions as the character, even things like set changes and it helps keep my energy and centre of gravity up.

I've also noticed that I heighten story much more when I perform, which I don't do when I audition. I keep it going up & up and keep the stakes really high. Maybe that's why the review commented on my energy and enthusiasm..? It is easy to keep the stakes high when the story is about a competition though...

I think that I give myself a lot more permission to ‘play’ when I have an audience response and when I'm playing a big 'character' role. It's easy to play with accents, funny voices, wigs and costumes. And because it's Music Theatre!

But my assistant director told me he noticed beautiful subtle acting response throughout the show that he enjoyed and that was at times when my character wasn't the focus. My comic timing is proving to work even in the situation where I haven't had a chance to rehearse and see if it works. I got laughs where Christen does, but also some others too in different parts. I got good applause on my exit too.

The company were surprised with my characterisation because I'm not the usual character "type"... She is the youngest, approx 9-10 years old, she is a nerdy redhead with glasses, 2 gay father's and a lisp. I proved that I shouldn't be type casted because of the way I look.

Other than that, I work my butt off to be as prepared as I can be in my own time... I've learnt that the only person you can rely on is yourself and at the end of the day, I'm the one who has to get up and do it. Magda wants to know just how amazing I would be if I actually had rehearsals. Maybe I wouldn't be as good!!??

I had all the usual self doubt and panic that sets in and I tried to manage it with mantras in my head "I can do this" etc.... and just focussed so hard on being Logan at a Spelling Bee, keeping my world really active in my head. I surprised myself, I really can do it and I love doing it when I get the chance.

I think that's it, but it all feels like a bit of a blur today.


CLICK HERE for a description of how Rehearsal Room process has worked for Jackie Rae.


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