Finally, after weeks of waiting, and chatting on Facebook and tweeting about how excited we all were to be working with each other, the assembled cast of A Lot of It About are ready for a read through. Kind of. Unfortunately, Tracey Gabbitas (our Ann) couldn’t make it to the read through, however, that didn’t stop the rest of us getting this thing going, and although she was missed, we had to press on, in order to stay on some form of schedule.
It’s been a long old slog getting us to this point, due to issues with there not being the right people around for roles and availability of actors but finally we’re here
We’d had our instructions to go to the Adelphi building at Salford Uni and meet up with everyone. Alex Shepley (our illustrious leader/director) and I are friends from way back when and live literally just up the road from each other, and so are travelling in together. It’s a good job we’ve given ourselves a bit of extra time as obviously there’s just heaps of rush hour traffic and the Sat Nav is being rubbish and to top it all off it’s snowing (or at least that’s what Facebook and Twitter said).
We make it through the arctic tundra and massive snow drifts (only just mind…) and see the looming Adelphi in front of us. Right on cue, like something out of a well-choreographed film, we bump into Michael Whittaker (Younger Ben). Luckily, he seems to know where he’s going.
After a bit of a talking to from the Security Man about the guy being out of there before 9 and trying to make our way through the labrinyth that is the performance centre, we arrived at the room. We set out tables, but unfortunately a lot of people were running late because public transport had shut down in panic mode… Y’know… Because of all that snow. In some ways, it was kind of cool to have a bit of time to chat with Michael and John Clarke (Kev), who had by now turned up with tales of getting lost on some dodgy estate in Salford.
… Still waiting and chatting, but the wonderful Dan Thackery (producer), like a knight in shining hot beverage-y armour, bought me a hot chocolate. I think it was to shut me up more than anything, but still it was much appreciated
Hannah managed to make it through the blizzards, and was immediately bombarded with stuff without even a moment to defrost.
Brian (Ben) and Sanjay (Marek) fight their way through the panda-snow-nium and we get going. It’s amazing to hear it out loud and get a proper feel for the play. It’s so funny and light hearted where it needs to be, and moving and quite harrowing in other places. I know that’s vague, but often it’s difficult to get the levels right when dealing with such a serious subject matter, but the humour is pitched in such a good place.
The read through ends and we all leave, feeling ready for tomorrow’s first rehearsal. Alex has already made it clear that this rehearsal schedule will be difficult because of everyone’s availability. Already, it’s taken the A Lot of It About crew a little bit longer to get together than our Broken counterparts, but looking at Alex’s little computer it’s easy to see why. I know that actors often have a reputation of not really doing very much, but this group of people seem to be some of the most hardworking people in the industry. Everyone has projects, and other little jobs, and rehearsals and whilst it might be an inconvenience for us, it’s brilliant to hear of people’s successes outside of this play.
Home and bed time.
Overall, really, there’s been a bit of a chaotic feel to this evening, but that is in no way a criticism. I love the laidback and fun attitude there is surrounding this. It’s unregimented and fluid and that is liberating is so many ways. Often I’ve said that I’m not really sure how “The Fringe” as an entity functions, but I feel this is a prime example of how and why it works; it’s just a group of lovely people pulling together to put on a great piece of theatre for audiences and actors to enjoy simultaneously.
To see the tour dates and book tickets for Broken and A Lot of it About, visit our website.