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An iconic performance

Updated: 2022-10-26 06:56 ( China Daily )
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The musical tells the story of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, the founder of the eponymous luxury brand, who is played by Marcia Davies. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Marcia Davies, who played the lead role of Chanel, says: "Her mother died when she was very young, so Gabrielle worked very hard and had a burning ambition when it came to business. The story focuses on Gabrielle trying to find her way in life."

Lyu, also pursuing a master's degree in musical theater at Goldsmiths, says overcoming the language barrier was very difficult when she was writing the lyrics and melodies for the songs.

Yang Hanlin, music director and composer, also a student at Goldsmiths, says that 12 original music pieces were composed, one French song Qui Qu'a Vu Coco was rearranged, and a band was assembled in such a short time.

"Limited resources prompted us to explore different techniques and approaches to the composition process," Yang says. "In the end, we achieved a satisfactory sonority while each piece of music only required simple technical proficiency from the instrumentalists."

During the past eight months of preparation, the production team grew from a four-person squad into a 50-strong group, covering areas from scriptwriting, music, choreography and casting to stage, lighting and costume design. They also designed a series of peripheral souvenirs and developed a website to market the musical.

Li Guangyu, director of the musical, says that despite the short rehearsal time, all the cast did a good job.

"We wanted the musical to show the many different possibilities in the growth of a woman, and that actually growing up is a very complex process for everyone," Li says. "We hope our show helped the audience to understand the emotional process of a girl's coming-of-age."

The musical was a success, far exceeding the standard of a student project. It ran twice at the university's George Wood Theatre on Sept 29 and Oct 1, and had a performance at the Greenwood Theatre on Oct 6. Each time, the musical played to a full house.

"I plan to continue working on this musical, making it a two-hour show, and bring it back to an even bigger stage," says Tan.

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