By Chong Zhi Hao
Adapted from the Academy-award winning film of the same name which starred Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, Ghost: The Musical is a modern-day take on the 1990 film, exploring the supernatural power of love through the romantic relationship between Sam Wheat and Molly Jensen that pushes the boundaries of traditional musical theatre – incorporating illusions and technology into an award-winning story and script for a never-before-seen experience.
Set in modern-day New York City, Sam and Molly are walking back to their apartment after a romantic dinner when a robbery gone wrong leads to Sam being murdered in a dark street. With Sam trapped as a ghost and Molly in grave danger, he works with a phony storefront psychic named Oda Mae Brown to communicate with Molly in order to protect her.
In an interview with actor Liam Doyle, who plays the lead role of Sam Wheat, and Andrea Laxton, co-starring as Molly Jensen, we take a look at some of the challenges and memorable moments that they experienced when preparing for their roles.
Q1: Can you share what was it like preparing for this role?
Liam: I have to get topless in the show, so I had to go to the gym quite a lot, and I’m on stage for 90% of the time, so I’m off-stage for 10 minutes in a 2 and a half-hour show, so it’s quite a long time to be on stage. I did a lot of stuff for my fitness, a lot of singing lessons, things like that where you have to make sure that you’re in the best physical shape possible when you start a show like this, cause it’s like a marathon, once it starts, you can’t get off, you just keep ploughing through.
Q2: Were there any challenges when you were preparing for the role?
Liam: We’ve had to learn a lot of illusions for the show, which have been made individually for this production. So, there’s a point in the show where I walk through a door, and obviously I’m not going to go straight through the door. So it’s learning the way to make the illusions work, it was very difficult, because it’s something we’re not used to. We’re used to standing in this marker singing into the light, we’re not used to having to make sure we’re in the exact right position because if you ever get it ever slightly wrong it doesn’t work. So it takes a lot of practice but I think that’s the most rewarding thing about it, it’s made it a lot fun.
Andrea: There’s this one bit where a ghost can kind of ‘jump’ into people’s bodies and inhabit them and speak to their loved ones. So that’s one of my favourite illusions, and that happens twice to Oda Mae, once in the parlour, somebody jumps in and she loses control of her body but it’s very exhausting for both the ghost and the person.
Q3: Were there any more memorable moments that you’ve had so far?
Andrea: So Sam kind of seeks out this guy in the second act for help, cause he’s like, how do you move things, like, teach me how. And so the guy ends up teaching him how, but it’s through this really neat rap, he raps it out, doing flips all over the stage, it’s one of my favourite parts of the show.
Q4: What can audiences expect to see when they watch GHOST: The Musical?
Liam: I think they should expect to see something that they’ve never seen before, really, it’s unlike anything you’ve seen. If you have seen the film, great, if you haven’t seen the film, it does not matter, because the story is so well-written it stands alone by itself.
Andrea: Audiences can definitely expect to cry, to be emotional. Even people who aren’t very emotional people come to the show and have such a visceral reaction, because it is this very pure, tender love in this relationship and they’re torn apart, and it’s something that’s so relatable.
Q5: Are there any personal reflections that you’d like to share about the musical?
Liam: I think this musical has taught me a thing about myself I didn’t actually realize. I think I realized how much that I have used the things that people have taught me, especially my grandparents. I think it’s given me a way to say ‘Thank you’ in many ways in my head, cause you don’t realize how much you’re influenced by people until they’re gone, and this show’s made me think about it a lot more, so it’s been a really nice learning curve just to switch in and say ‘Thank you’ sometimes.
Andrea: This show has taught me a lot, I’ve been a part of it now for a couple of years, I did the US tours as well, and I’m still not sick of it, I love it, and I think that you learn something new every day from it, but specifically with the character of Molly, I think it speaks to the strength that we have as people, that’s something that has kind of been revealed to me, just the ability to cope and to move on even when your world has completely fallen apart, our ability as humans to adapt, to get over and to see the light. One of her lines says, “I can choose to turn around or I can choose to just stand still. Either way, nothing stops another day.” It’s one of my favourite songs she sings in Act Two, and it’s kind of like that moment of hope, that moment of realizing that life goes on and you have to keep moving. And so that’s been something that I’ve thought about a lot with the show.
GHOST: The Musical opens on 20 October 2015 at the Sands Theatre. Tickets are now on sale at sistic.com.sg.