It’s always the same isn’t it. You wait for rehearsals to start, then three lots arrive all at once. In the space of a month, Paines Plough has begun three separate rehearsal processes on three different shows. Today, we’re looking at JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS by Tom Wells.

The size of our Aldwych rehearsal room can best be described as modest. So then imagine all the entire cast and creative, team PP and then two co-producers packed into the space to hear the first reading of a script that had been sent, print previewed and copied all before 10am that Monday morning.

And Tom, of course, did not disappoint. Even at the read-through there was a palpable appreciation of a draft that will inevitably change and grow over the four week rehearsal period. Afterwards, Lucy Osborne presented her simple yet brilliantly playful design and then as everyone went their separate ways, our cast of Matt, Viv,  Jamie, Phil and Andy remained to begin the hard work of the next four weeks.

The first week was spent partly round the table breaking the scenes into units, partly on its feet. The exact logistics of uniting is particular to each rehearsal room, and in our one it was about finding moments in the script whereby an action happens that cannot be retracted. A moment that when it happens, changes the state of play. We labelled each one and personal preferences include: ‘Orinoco Flow’, ‘Can’t snog a book’ and ‘Hullywood Ending’.

The plan was then to spend Wednesday to Friday getting the thing on its feet. Which we did. Rather than agonise over whether it should be a break downstage left, or which hand to accept the can with, we went with what felt best and were brave with it. This meant that by Friday afternoon, we had already down a stagger through and had a feeling of the piece from beginning to end.

Tom then had the weekend to make any changes he felt necessary after hearing the words spoken from for the first time. The cast were not to learn anything, but to continue familiarising themselves with their part and the world of the play.

We’re now well into week two, so will update soon.