Collette worked with Phoebe on rehearsing Liane’s show, she writes …

‘I began my first day on the job counting sheep in the early hours of the morning, as my dear friend insomnia had decided to pay a visit to me on the night before the rehearsal. I felt less than poetic as I clambered onto the Essex express (also known as the central line) but the nervous excitement of my inaugural rehearsal as a trainee director kept me going.

Once at the Poetry Society [where we rehearsed], greetings out of the way, we got down to the nitty gritty of tea and biscuit consumption. The essentials done with we embarked on a first reading of Liane’s poems. Her smooth, honeyed tone gave vivacity to the poems and made me excited as to where Phoebe was going to take the performance. The poems flowed into one another perfectly and, aside from one change in the line-up, Julia’s original selection from Liane’s poetry seemed to be the foundation for a great show.

The atmosphere, already friendly and calm, was made even more so by the voice and breathing exercises led by Phoebe. There is something about having a good old shake, lying on the floor and then repeating ‘g’ and ‘b’ sounds that will make everyone seem a little less scary. Working through the exercises really highlighted the importance of elements such as breath control and diction, and demonstrated how one could work to improve such things.

After a hearty lunch, a chat and a walk on the surprisingly sunny London streets it was back to business. Going through each of Liane’s poems Phoebe worked with her to create a reading that showed both the poem and Liane’s oratory skills in their best light. Phoebe explained within the rehearsal that she was trying to help Liane re-discover what it was that made her write each line or word and through that re-discovery we could reach the best reading of the poem. Certainly, as we worked through each poem a little change in the pace, emphasis or emotion gave a new energy to the lines, helping the performance to flow. Liane was open to all suggestions and her natural performance skills made the process of taking her poems from page to stage a delight.

With a book full of scribbles and a wearied step or two, I found myself back on the train, contemplating the great day I had had from the comfort of a stranger’s sweaty armpit.’


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