We have all been used to wearing masks but Jeff Rea will be wearing an extra special mask next month.
Mr Rea isplaying the phantom in the West Otago Theatrical Society’s production of Phantom ofthe Opera.
The dairy farmer has seen versions of the production both on screen and live, including seeing Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman perform the show in London.
Now he gets to play a role known worldwide.
It would be his first role on stage with the society since 2009 and something he was really looking forward to, he said.
It was a great role and one he wanted to be involved with.
The key was getting to know the character.
‘‘Just probably trying to get inside the man’s head. Put yourself in his position on how he grew up . . .just who he was, how he felt and how that reflected in his relationships around the world,’’ Mr Rea said.
He had been the musical director for the society’s shows for the past few years with his wife Margie directing, but when the Phantomshow came along he decided to get back on the stage.
‘‘It’s good music, got a lot of good songs which I enjoy singing.’’
‘‘I’ve put a lot into it. I’ve been trying to get a bit fitter. I’ve got a treadmill and trying to work on that. It just helps and makes it easier to perform.’’
Mr Rea, who spent 10 years in Nashville following his first love of country music, had played various roles over the years but said he never took them for granted.
‘‘You’re always nervous. A little bit of nerves and edge is healthy. If you think you are always going to do it and it will come together then it won’t. As long asyou are not debilitated by the nerves then they help.’’
It is the society’s 40th anniversary year, with the first show on July 1 at the community centre in Tapanui and eight shows in total ending on July 9.