Jumpers for goalposts is a play about an LGBT football team fighting to win third place in a league of 4. I was lucky enough to sit in on one of their rehearsal rooms at the Oldham Coliseum Theatre.
The only rehearsals I’ve ever experienced have been through performing arts in high school and drama in college. Needless to say the professional rehearsal I attended was very different. We were of course supposed to think about the script in detail but were always far too eager to just get up and start acting. The rehearsal at the coliseum began with the cast and director reading through the scene they would be working on and then going through it page by page. Picking up on facts, events and questions. This chat helped them to develop where each character was at throughout the scene and what turning points there were. The chat also lead to tangents and talk about weird fingers and the sort of shoes that signify a man you should never date.
They then began to run the scene through seemingly with little structure just a brief idea about the way the blocking should start. The trust was put in the actors and the work they’d done on the scene, with alterations or different ways of trying things being suggested at the end of each run. The process was very give and take between the actors and director and allowed them to delve deeper into the text and find what worked best.
At a point of low energy after lunch we quickly played a game of football under the thin guise of helping the actors know what it was like to lose a football game as their characters do throughout the play. Unfortunately they won! It did raise their energy for them to go through the entire scene a couple more times.
While the attention they paid to the text was far more than what I did in high school I did recognise the camaraderie and fun between the cast. One of the things I miss most from acting is the bond you find through building something together and appearing on stage as a team.
The play itself was excellent, at least the scene I saw! Each member of the cast was strong and offered something different. It was also genuinely very funny. My highlight of the script was this exchange which I strongly related to:
Viv: That’s my worst pet hate that is, ooh I’ve got a secret, I’ve got one but I can’t tell you.
Geoff: I thought your worst pet hate was halloumi
Viv: (sighs) Well it’s a draw…