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Mary-Attracta Connolly

The Magic Flute – 1994  

I received the best birthday present ever in 1993 when Terry Craig, then General Manager of WAO, called and offered me the role of Second Spirit in Lindy Hume’s 1994 production of The Magic Flute with Sara McLiver as First Spirit and Helen Searle as Third Spirit.  I recall Lindy wanted me to play the part as a girl, however, I asked if I could play the Second Spirit as a boy as I had my character worked out and was going to base him on my young nephew, Ross, and Lindy said yes.  So, Sara was a girl (perfect given her long, thick, curly hair!) and Helen and I were both boys!  For our ACT I entry Lindy wanted us to simply ‘appear’.  This was difficult given that His Majesty’s Theatre has only one trap door and, to use it, the trap needs to be left open which means a hole is present in the stage floor until the trap door entrance is made and the trap closed thus limiting movement of the performers already on stage.  This, plus the fact that three of us needed to enter at the same time, meant the trap door was not a workable option.  The solution?  We were each pre-set on stage under a cluster of autumn leaves.  The hardest thing about this was that we were not able to move at all as we would have been visible to the audience so we had to remain totally still – I was lucky not to have found this uncomfortable to do.  Given my position on the stage nearest Prompt Corner, during one performance I was able to see through a crack in the leaves and could see the clock on the wall, behind the Stage Manager, and was able to time that we were lying still for 50 minutes each night before our entrance.  When our entrance came we simply stood up as if we had appeared from out of the ground…it was just like magic!