The Greasepaint Productions musical “Next to Normal” was also the weekend before finals. Greasepaint is a Bi-Co theater club that puts together one small musical per semester. Their shows are in the Bryn Mawr Hepburn teaching theater or the Haverford DC Blackbox. “Next to Normal” is about a family trying to deal with the mother’s bipolar disorder. The father and the mother married when they were young. Since the mother’s bipolar diagnosis, the father is fighting depression, the mother hallucinates about her dead son and misses her emotions she doesn’t feel while on medication, and the daughter feels neglected and turns rebellious.
“Next to Normal” is not a light musical. I had read the plot prior to watching, so I knew how dark and serious it was. Some of my friend had not and were crying during the parts dealing with depression, suicide, and self-harm. Greasepaint puts a lot of practice and work into their musicals. My best friend Amy (who happens to have the most angelic singing voice) played the role of Natalie Goodman, the angsty 16 year old daughter. I didn’t see my friend much this semester because she had musical practice 3 or 4 times a week for hours at a time. During tech week (the week of the show), they practice every night. Hard work paid off because each show (4 shows in total) had great attendance from the Bi-Co. It’s amazing how convinced I was that students around my age could act as adults dealing with mid-life crisis.
I’ve been a fan of Greasepaint since playing clarinet in the pit band for their production of “Avenue Q” the fall semester of my first year at Bryn Mawr. I got the gig because my customs person Maya Neville ’16 was the stage manager for the show. Instrumentation for each show varies, so I haven’t played in the pit band since then, but I try to go to the Greasepaint production each semester. Reserve show tickets ahead of time because they definitely do fill up quickly.