Interview with Faust Member - Thilo Roehrich
One of our Faust members, Thilo Roehrich shares with us about his experience with Faust and his experience in taking on roles in professional shows, including the recent production of Evita which ran at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts in May and June 2018!
Hello Thilo! Please introduce yourself (what school do you attend, when did you start Faust)
I am Thilo, I go to Kennedy School. I started Faust when I was 5 and have been doing it ever since.
Thilo, you’ve been involved in so many professional shows! How did you get involved?
I have been to Faust classes for so many years and there have been lots of opportunities to perform. My first big stage productions were with Faust - I auditioned and got parts in Treasure Island and Jungle Book. I then heard about a role for Priscilla Queen of the Desert last year from a friend who was auditioning and I went and auditioned. I was lucky to be offered the part.
Auditions can be nerve wracking experiences for some. Why do you think you were successful and got chosen to take part?
Thilo: I was able to be myself in the audition and kept calm. In preparation for the Evita audition, I spent my lunch hours with our music teacher at school practicing so that I felt comfortable with the songs.
Mrs. Roehrich: I think we approached the whole thing in a relaxed way. In our view, the best thing parents can do is to step back and allow the kids to express themselves in their way and not try to orchestrate anything. This reduces the pressure on the kids and they get to be natural when they go.
What was the experience like from the initial rehearsals to the week of production?
After I was offered the part, we were sent scripts/song sheets and asked to learn and practice on our own. We do not meet as a cast until the week of the actual performance. We need to come to the first rehearsal expected to know our lines/Songs. So it requires lots of independence, no one is managing that you have done the work you need to do. I was surprised at how little rehearsal there is before the first show. The international cast flies in and does the opening night within 2 days of arriving in Hong Kong. We met them once then we are on stage!
What do you notice about the theatre professionals you work with? What do you learn from them?
Acting can be fun, but it also needs to be taken seriously. That isn’t to discourage people, but I saw how hard they work, day after day. They work every day, sometimes 2 shows a day, then a very small time off before they move cities and move on to the next show.
What was your favourite moment from your experiences so far?
Probably the very first scene of each show, going out on stage with the lights, and the other actors.
What has helped you prepare for this experience? What advice would you give to your friends at Faust?
Gradually doing shows from the smaller term shows, to the Faust Festival shows, then the large production Faust show which all helped me be comfortable with then doing Pricilla and Evita.
Mrs. Roehrich, what would you suggest to other parents who are interested in trying out these performance / filming opportunities for their children?
For us it was about knowing what was going on so that we could tell Thilo about the opportunities. Our main source of information is Faust and the HKYAF. We missed a few things because we didn’t know where to look.
The other thing we learned that was a surprise for us, is that when professional shows are casting children, they are not necessarily looking for experienced actors or professional singers. They are looking for real kids. Just normal kids who show up on stage as normal kids but yet can have presence on stage.