A sell out on the opening night, this October members of Nottingham University’s Medic’s Musical Committee took to the stage at the Nottingham Arts Theatre with their very own production of the well known Broadway hit, West Side Story. Impact Arts caught up with the producer David Antognini beforehand for an insight into the performance preparations.

So how did you go about creating a student production like this?

It was by no means a self-organised venture. There has been a huge committee behind me, without them it would’ve been impossible. It was slow to begin with whilst we ironed out theatre and performance rights problems but from then on it has been full steam ahead! This is the largest scale the committee has ever performed at, so we’ve also spent a fair bit on advertising etc. Overall I think it’s been created piece by piece and the end result…. well you’ll see next week – it will be fantastic I’m sure! 

Most people will know the show from the 1961 film. Has it influenced the way your production is directed?

It would be impossible not to be influenced slightly. However the rights company, Weinberger, actually stipulate in the contract that we’re not allowed to recreate the film in any way, which is a good thing in my opinion. It was written for the stage and was adapted to film, so it’s nice to see the original, so to speak, being performed. The choreography team have been fantastic and have really worked incredibly hard, creating nearly all of the choreography themselves.

It could be said that medicine and drama are very different! Has drama always been a passion of yours?

It has been terribly time consuming for everyone, but life would be boring without something else apart from medicine. Everyone has enjoyed the social aspect – it really has brought our whole year together! In terms of myself, I used to be heavily involved in drama at school, both in terms of technical direction and drama direction.

What’s your favourite song from the show?

I couldn’t possibly choose – although I do love the ‘Gee Officer Krupke’ scene!

How do you feel about the upcoming performances?

I am very excited. We’ve got everyone from our Dean to the midwives who teach us over in Derby coming to watch, as well as family and friends from all over the country making the effort to come down/up/across so there’s a lot of pressure – but it will be an awesome week!

What would be your advice to other students hoping to produce a show?

Organisation and communication: The key is to keep calm, make sure everyone is aware of everything that is going on, and remember that it’s never too early to start planning for something – posters, tickets sales, room booking etc. It’s better to have to cancel than have a cast of 70 turning up and things not being prepared!

On the other hand, my main piece of advice is to enjoy it and everything will be a lot more fun for organisers and cast alike!

By Sarah Hall

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