After lunch it’s my first fatsuit fitting. First they stick on the fatsuit worn on Broadway for a year by the actor Brian d’Arcy James. It’s lovely to be so close to Shrek at last, less to be so close to Brian. Even with the airholes, punched in by an industrial rivet-maker, there’s twelve months of reeking Shrek sweat in here. I hold my breath as the huge, padded, slightly moist two-piece suit goes on, then the all-in-one tartan strides, the hessian top and brown belt, six-inch-heeled boots, and the green cowl.
My first impression is one of intense excitement. Then the heat hits me. I’ve only been standing here for five minutes but feel as if I’d done a two-hour alfresco step class at noon in Ouagadougou. I want to lie down. How the hell are you supposed to speak, sing, dance when you are dressed like the Michelin Man’s fat brother?
And on farting with Amanda Holden,
This morning the rehearsal board tells me I have “Remedial Farting with Ms Amanda Holden”. Shrek and Fiona have a farting duet (Ibsen eat your heart out), which, when last attempted, dissolved into a chaos of playground histrionics (hence the “remedial”). I like Amanda. She has had a hard time of it recently, none of which she has brought to the rehearsal room. She can sing and act and doesn’t take herself too seriously. We had a stage direction, now cut, that read: “Shrek makes the noise of the buzzer from Britain’s Got Talent.” I confessed in front of the company, rather sheepishly because I didn’t want to embarrass her, that I had never watched the programme. She feigned horror. Next day she slipped a toy buzzer she had brought from the show into my hand.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.