When you have had scenes, characters and even some choreography alive in your head for many months it is a real relief to get to the point where those images come to life! It feels like most of the life of a performance maker is in front of a laptop and for me listening to music and conjuring up those images.
The first rehearsal began at Studio Wayne McGregor which brought us back to the Olympic Park. Four years ago we were rehearsing at the Olympic Park's Timber Lodge for The Legacy about the legacy of the 2012 Olympic/Paralympic performers.
As I walked past the throngs of West Ham supporters near the stadium and over the bridge towards Here East, I remembered having to walk from one end of the park to the stadium in 2012 on our way to perform in the Olympic Opening ceremony and being overlooked by some cars who were tooting their horns at us. I remembered that I had the flu that day which made that walk more torturous.
Although we had all been to the park many times since and witnessed various stages in its transformation, it seemed more marked to me as I approached the Here East Centre, which had been the press and broadcast centers during the 2012 games.
I am so honoured to be part of the FreeSpace programme at Studio Wayne McGregor for this production and I had heard lots about how incredible the space is. It did not disappoint! Our studio was a large white box with useful adjustable lighting. It really makes so much difference to bring a new cast to an inspirational space and contributed to a really productive and positive first rehearsal.
From the moment we started working together in the space, it was clear that the group all shared some enthusiasm for the project and had done research into their characters and the topic. It was freeing to have such a large space to work in as we all got to know each other and each performer's style of movement.
The best moment of that rehearsal was when the performers first got into character and told the rest of the group about themselves. There were some funny revelations about the couples, their private lives, homes and pets!
The cast for Inauguration will be:
The Speaker – Scott Swinton
Statue of Liberty/Melania Trump – Hannah Bailes
Voiceless Woman – Penny Brookman
Trump – Rhiannon Brace
2nd Lady Karen Pence – Mary Cox
Vice President – Paul Langton
Ivanka Trump – Lucy Bennett
Jared Kushner – Jey Jeyakumar
Louise Linton – Gilly Hanna
Steven Mnuchin – Barbara Cunningham