I arrived at The Exchange's rehearsal room full of excitement and interest to see how day 1 of rehearsals would begin for The Almighty Sometimes. I was blown away by the play on the first reading and couldn't wait to see the characters and their world evolve over the next few weeks and be gradually brought to life.
The day began with a meet and greet with the majority of The Exchange's staff, which was daunting enough for me as someone with no contribution to make to the rehearsal process, and must have been terrifying for Katy Rudd (Director), Kendall Feaver (Writer), the cast and other creatives meeting the huge team working behind the scenes to support their play. Sarah Frankcom (Artistic Director, Royal Exchange Theatre) and Katy thanked everyone for being involved and marvelled at the incredible team they had gathered for the play.
Following this the room emptied to leave the creative team and set designer Rosanna Vize, who introduced her incredible model box for the production. The set will be vital in the production and will evolve throughout the play to give further hints to the action and Anna's mental state. I'll leave the description there so I don't give too much away!
After lunch the company gathered around the table with The Exchange's Producers and Dramaturg for the first read-through of the play. Although seated and reading, the cast brought the play fully to life and gave more than a flavour of how it will look on the stage. Some of the cast commented how they were relieved to have the pressure of the read-through over and now were ready to get cracking with the fun part of playing and experimenting in rehearsals. Assistant Director Atri Banerjee handed out research packs to the cast. Over the course of the week the cast will meet and talk to mental health experts and service users who have had similar experiences to the characters.
The Almighty Sometimes runs 9 - 24 February 2018, Theatre