The Making of Harry Bright -- MAMMA MIA,THE MUSICAL IS HERE
The Making of Harry Bright -- MAMMA MIA,THE MUSICAL IS HERE

From April 13th to 15th,around 100 students from different countries of UWC Changshu China gave an awesome performance of the Broadway musical "Mamma Mia!" to all the students, faculty, staff, their families and friends at the School theatre. The resounding success of the show was the result of tireless preparation and practices over the past six months. From directing to performing, from choreography to stage design, from choir to band, students all did by themselves. It was a celebration of the passion for musical, love for performing art, versatile talents of the students.


Here below, Joosep VÕrno, who acted Harry Bright in the musical shared with us his unforgettable "Mamma Mia" journey.  


Joosep is a DP2 student from Estonia.  As he is graduating in May, in his mind: "UWC is a place with diversity in all forms: in nationality, opinion and interests, but more importantly, UWC is a place to get to know yourself. By immersing ourselves in the challenging but extremely fun life of a UWC student, I have become more invested in the core values of UWC without even noticing it. In many ways, UWC students take action when problems arise on campus or in the whole world, despite fatigue and exam stress. I have yet to see another group of people this passionate about a better world!"


  • Joosep as Harry Bright


One hundred and fifty. That’s the number of hours my theatre teacher Tim Crofton told me a school production of a musical would take, and I didn’t believe him – that’s just way too much! Yet there I was, having practiced for six months, hearing the quiet muttering of the audience behind the curtains that would soon open, wishing I had a day or two more before the band starts to play. 


Now it’s done – the show is over but so much remains: the friendships, the memories, the inside jokes and a weird love-hate relationship with all of the songs. This is me trying to share our journey.


It all started one Wednesday evening Musical Theater meeting that I was late to, sitting in a chircle (chill circle) deciding upon which musical to take on. The suggestion to do "Mamma Mia!" met some resistance,but for me, it seemed like a great option, having grown up with ABBA’s music.The following weekend, auditions were held. Let me tell you something right now– I’m not a great singer. However, it was perhaps because of the immense amount of “room for improvement” that I ended up being casted as Harry Bright. I hope I did justice to the role.


Was it easy? Let me answer saying: “Left-right-spin-spin-right-left-bodyroll.”  That’s the first like…5 seconds of our choreography for Voulez-Vous. And now sing the song while you’re doing it. I didn’t get it the first time, neither probably the fiftieth, but with enough practice, even I became a true master at all the body rolls and improvisational poses. I would be lying if I didn’t say it was tiring, but it’s all worth it in the end, for that one time when the directors are happy with what they see.


Being part of "Mamma Mia!" meant that weekends were not really a thing for us, as those were our practice times. It was, however, truly fun to work with the amazing and talented group of people, and that is worth more than any Shanghai overnight I could have embarked upon otherwise. It still brings a smile to my face, thinking of all the funny moments we have shared during the production of this musical.


Sometimes things don’t just come naturally. I probably hit every other musical note out there, before I was able to even start the first line in my song “Thank You for the Music”. And I didn’t get that right for quite some time, which to a 21st century kid living in a world of instant gratification can be pretty devastating – and oh yes it was. I had tried everything, even considered giving it all up. If there is something that I learned from this musical, it is that I am usually wrong and our director, Andrés is right when we disagree on something. He knew I had It in me. And yep, I did it – I sang that song and didn’t do too bad! If you want something hard enough, just work for it.


And then it was time to put it all together – about a week before the premiere, "Mamma Mia!" became the most prominent part of our lives. Daily rehearsals were followed by nights in the theatre, painting rocks on the stage until 4 AM. Tiring as it was, I would still consider that the most fun part of the whole production – the discussions we had, the songs we sang and the bonds we made bringing it all together like that! The amazing Desiré Clarence discouraged the main cast from painting, and I can see why, which is not because of the toxicity of the paint – when you put a group of music enthusiasts in the same room and play "Bohemian Rhapsody", nothing can stop them from singing along with enough energy that would power up a whole town in a blackout!