Francesca Waite - Observer Mondays Director - gives us an insight into the second week of rehearsals for The Almighty Sometimes, directed by Katy Rudd

REHEARSAL WEEK TWO - 15 JAN 2018

Second week of rehearsals began with an hour of yoga for the company warm up, while Atri Banerjee (Assistant Director) updated me on everything I'd missed since last week , which included meetings with experts and the play beginning to get on its feet.

BALANCE BETWEEN DIRECTING AND MOVEMENT IN REHEARSALS

Back in the rehearsal room, I observed Movement Director, Vicki Manderson, set the cast a task: asking them to arrange an assault course using the furniture in the space. The cast were asked to guide each other through the course, which involved their trust, imaginations and creative physicality. Vicki allowed them plenty of time to explore the challenge and work together. Following this Vicki gave them a different task, which resulted in them having organically created movement sequences that they could teach each other. I was interested to see how a few very simple directions could to create such natural and effective movements.

Image of The Almighty Sometimes Rehearsals, Royal Exchange Theatre

After lunch Katy led a table reading of the first scene, where the company broke the scenes into units. These include major shifts in the story, or smaller corners. Katy asked the cast to improvise the scene leading up to scene 1, before continuing into the scripted scene on its feet. This repeated for the next scene, with Katy giving 3 different directions before each improvisation including 'this is your first meeting' and 'you've had a bad day', while examining the cast's discoveries. The cast were happy to improvise, and the work certainly seemed to contribute to their characterisations.

So much gets packed into the day, I look forward to seeing how far ahead the rehearsals will be by this time next week.

REFLECTIONS

During these first two weeks, the rehearsal time between Vicki's movement and Katy Rudd's direction have been equally split, which I hadn't been expecting. This seemed to enable the play to take a physical shape earlier than it might have, if a movement director contributed later in the process. From my observations, their partnership worked really well, with Katy referring to Vicki for any movement decisions, including blocking.


The Almighty Sometimes runs 9 - 24 February 2018, Theatre

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