A Lot of it About : Crystal Balls


Not meaning this in a pretentious way, or anything, but today I wanted to write something in the moment directly from a rehearsal room. I know that rehearsal rooms are often regarded as “safe spaces” and that anything can be said without fear of it making it out of the room, however, having checked with everyone, I felt it was best to capture how the first day went.

This afternoon, as we’re working in chronological order, Alex has mainly been working on scenes involving the menfolk-Brian, Mike and John. It’s been interesting watching them all work together. The feeling in the room is quite odd, in that it veers wildly from being extremely serious to these moments of lightness in which all the tension is relieved, which usually takes the form of shouting “Lad!” or “Banter!” after something particularly euphemistic, or in some cases, explicitly obvious. John has this amazing habit of making extremely funny comments which he thinks no one has heard, but I often catch them when I’m eavesdropping in their character discussion.

First day of rehearsals can often be quite tentative and actors quite reticent as everyone finds their feet and figures each other out, however, in this process we have no choice but to get straight down and dirty (ooh matron) with it for a number of reasons.  One very practical reason being the time constraints we have, due to availability (a recurring theme I feel developing).

Another key part of this is the subject matter of the play. It’s so extreme at times that it means there can be no inhibitions in the room. From the get go, Mike and John were thrown in at the deep end starting with an awkward post coital scene (I hope that’s not giving too much away). Luckily, they know each other already, so there weren’t any personal inhibitions to get over, but I thought it may be awkward for them because of their friendship. However, everyone seems to be “giving” so much that this hasn’t even shown in the slightest. Watching how at ease they can be with such a sensitive issue makes me admire these guys even more. I’m not too sure that I would be as comfortable as that, so despite them being pretty much the same age as me, I’m learning from them, which is ace.

In addition we kind of have a bit of a competition going as to who can make the most profound statement of analysis. Earlier, Alex used the word “dichotomy” and we all thought that was the winner but then Brian came out with this piece of rehearsal room gold:

“He uses the crutch, but he doesn’t need the crutch. It’s a physical manifestation of his problems. He’s like a little bird, with a broken wing who’s too scared to fly… And that, is why he is an ornithologist”

As I said. Profound.

John is losing. As he likened Ben to John Watson from Stephen Moffat’s Sherlock, and also said the walking stick needed a crystal ball on it. He’s been told to buck his ideas up if he doesn’t want to go to the bottom of the class.



To see the tour dates and book tickets for Broken and A Lot of it About, visit our website.

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