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Another Liesl Thread 
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Fresh Face
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Post Another Liesl Thread
I am playing Liesl in a community theater production of SOM. I've never been in a play/musical before, but singing is my passion, and i love musicals, so i tried out and got the part. i have a few questions, so maybe some people who've played the role, or anyone who has advice could help me out.


How can i get into the character of Liesl? What is her overall kind of, attitude, when she delivers her lines? How can i come up with her character by looking at the script and trying to figure out the subtext?

Liesl has only about 20 lines in the play i think (excluding the songs of course). How should i be acting/what should i be doing when im on stage but not saying anything?

for example: today we were rehearsing the scene where maria first comes and we are all introducing ourselves. i only have one line (I'm Liesl, I'm sixteen years old and I don't need a governess), and in our production, there are 11 other von Trapp children following myself.. what should i be doing/acting like while all the other kids are saying their lines?


How difficult do you think the dancing will be? i've never seen a stage production, and i'm just wondering how, since there is no gazebo, that goes..

thanks!


Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:49 am
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First, congrats on the part.

Liesl is a young girl who is growing up. She is trying to show everyone that she is a woman now, when she really isn't. I feel this is one of the easiest mind-sets to play. You need to believe that you are a young girl, but show your father and Maria that you are mature.


Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:53 am
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Having just played this role a month ago in a production--I would be glad to help you!
That line "I'm Liesl...and I don't need a governess" was my favorite in the whole show--ultimately your motivation needs to be that you are a sixteen year old girl who is THROUGH with governesses. They always act stupid and repulsive and won't leave me alone and treat you like a baby. I always put an emphasis on the word 'need'. "I'm Liesl, I'm 16 years old, and I don't 'need' a governess" (and I gave maria a really mean glance). Liesl is also probably the most militaryish (as in marching, looking straight ahead) because she's the oldest and has been through this the longest. Here's another note--REACT to what the other kids are saying!! When Louisa says, "I'm Brigitta"--be smug, she's about to pull one over on the governess that you don't want! Be attentive to everything that is said.
About Liesl's personality--she needs to be very 16 (I know that sounds ridiculous, but really, PLEASE play Liesl 16). Be flirty but not too flirty. Be innocent and naive. Allow the kiss at the ending of 'sixteen' be a complete and total surprise!
Since Liesl is 16, the big thing for her is that she's kinda a girl, but kinda a woman. LET THAT SHOW! When she's with her brothers and sisters, allow her to be playful and fun, but when interacting with the adult characters (maria/captain), allow her to have a sense of what is going on around her. PLEASE don't play Liesl as "la de dah, I know nothing!" Let her be smart--after all, she has been the leader of 6 brothers and sisters for her entire life!
Hope this helps!!


Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:27 pm
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Young Hoofer
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Why are there 11?


Sun Jan 14, 2007 4:43 pm
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Tony Winner
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jonvaljohn wrote:
Why are there 11?

Eleven of what/who?


Sun Jan 21, 2007 9:36 am
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I played Liesl last April. Here are a few things I used in my characterisations (I know you'd be about a month into rehearsal's now, but hopefully you can still use this to your advantage):

- Liesl is the oldest of seven. This is important. She is the only child who CLEARLY remembers what life was like before the death of their mother. Because the children have had such horrible luck with governesses (my assumption was always that the children got rid of their governesses because the governess was awful - not because the children are actually awful children) it would have naturally fallen on Liesl to look after her younger siblings. So she is very protective of them, not irritated by them the way an older sister might be normally.

- Liesl acts her age when she's with Rolf or talking about Rolf, but not so much at other times. I played my scene with Rolf as a love-struck girl, who's naive and lacking experience, but not oblivious to the ways of romance and apt with being flirtatious and coy. You really want to make the audience believe in the relationship between Liesl and Rolf in that first scene so that the later scenes (after Rolf goes Nazi on your butt) are all the more heart-wrenching. Speaking of those scene, don't be afraid to lose all the pretense of mature young lady and sob like a little girl. You're heart is broken, your feelings are hurt, in short, you're absolutely devastated. Don't be afraid to show that.

- When she's with the other kids, I always played Liesl as slightly older, or, if you'd rather, I played her 16, but a MATURE 16. She is at the awkward stage between woman and girlhood and she's also been through a lot in her sixteen years. She's smart and savvy and has a pretty good grasp on what's going happening around her household and her coutnry. And, being that it's 1938, you can't play her like a 21st century 16 year old. I've seen that done and I absolutely HATE it. That said, don't lose the fun of the part - Liesl is still a young girl and can still laugh and have fun and act goofy with her brothers and sisters. Just keep in mind that Liesl's been looking after her siblings since their mother died, and probably even before that.

I soaked up every interpretation of Liesl I could before I did the role. Check out YouTube for some videos of other versions - that will give you some idea of the various choreography that gets used (I'm on there too somewhere! Look for SoM videos from Megfly ^_^). Watch the movie and listen to all the recordings you can. One of my favourite Liesl's is the the one from the Original Dutch cast, if you can believe it (again, you can find videos on YouTube). Sara Zelle from the 1998 revival was a huge influence on my Liesl as well.

Hope this helps! I hope rehearsals and whatnot are going well. Be sure to let us know the the actual run goes!!! (and post pictures!)

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Sat Feb 10, 2007 5:09 pm
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I played the part of Liesl almost two years ago, and - being 14 at the time - it was not always easy to get into the mindset of a (slightly older) teenager in the 1930's.

Just remember that she is perhaps more childlike than 16-year-olds are today, but still on the brink of adulthood. She would be less excited about many of the events going on, and - especially towards the end of the musical - has a very sincere side to her character.
At the beginning of the play, however, she has always seemed like a shy girl who has not yet figured out what the world is all about... She misses a motherly figure by her side and, of all the children, develops the perhaps most intimate relationship with Maria.
The other aspect of her character - her romance with Rolf - is what I thought to be the easiest part. She thinks she is in love and shares her feelings with a stranger only to, for the first time since the death of her mother, experience disappointment.

Hmmm.... I think everything else has already been said :) !

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Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:10 am
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Tony Winner
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Like the other kids, Liesl is also distant from her father, who may be suspicious of Rolf. As Maria told the Captain in her "straitjacket speech": "Now take Liesl. She's not a child anymore. One of these days you're going to find she's a woman, you won't even know her!" Liesl also remembered that her father was once very cultured, and a good singer. When he tried to deny it, Liesl demolished his alibi, and they sang the "Edelweiss" duet for the Baroness. Near the end, when the family was holed up in the Abbey, waiting to escape Austria, the Captain may have at least sensed Liesl's love of Rolf (and his subsequent jilting of her), and tried to entice him to escape with them, "before it's too late".


Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:20 am
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Post Liesl and the other children...
Dear Musicals.Net Posters,

There are some wonderful ideas in this thread!

I personally think that the Von Trapp children were giving their governesses what for because they (the kids) weren't ready to let go of their mother's memory. I also think that all of the kids were aware (at least subconsciously) that their father was drifting away from them, and that they were desperate to get his attention, because they needed him much more than they needed a governess, anyway. Remember the movie line which went something like "How ELSE would we get Father's attention?"?

I don't know that Liesl is as naiive as some might think that she is. Of course, I've only seen the movie version of TSOM, and in the movie, Liesl is sort of seductive and playfully forward about her desire for Rolf. I see Liesl's admission of niivate as being perhaps only half-sincere. She totally wants Rolf, and she doesn't want anything to stand in her way of getting him into her arms.

Liesl is stuck between the child and the adult worlds more than other teen girls because she's being both a child and a maternal figure; her father has bailed on his family (at least attention-wise), and so Liesl and Freidrich (?) are the woman, and the man, of the house. Since Liesl is the oldest child, she has to look out for the other kids, while still buying some personal time during which to have fun with Rolf. In some ways, Rolf's visits represent Liesl's disappearing childhood; Liesl doesn't understand why Rolf has to rain on her parade by becoming serious and political. Later on (in the stage version of the musical, anyway), Rolf will prove that he still has a smidge of loyal youthfulness within him after all, by keeping his knowledge of the Von Trapp family's whereabouts a secret.

Liesl's youthfulness is playful, slightly lustful, and very enthusiastic. Liesl is an idealistic, yet surprisingly precocious girl.
8)

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Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:18 am
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