So this autumn, for six weeks, I had a slight change to my usual routine. Get up, do the school run, see coaching clients, answer emails, make tea… oh and go perform at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre!
I’m fortunate enough to be a member of the Borough Market Community Choir as I work nearby. In the summer, Borough Market Choir were approached by their neighbour the Globe Theatre. Director Adele Thomas approached Borough Market Choir’s Musical Director Esmeralda Conde Ruiz, looking for singers to play the Jury. Renowned contemporary composer Mira Calix then composed a vocal part for the Jurors, designed to suit the singers’ voices, and rehearsals began
We all assumed that we would be standing at the back of the stage singing in the background but when we arrived, we found out that we would be appearing in the jury scene as the goddess Athena’s finest citizens’, casting our votes into a real fire alongside the Goddess Athena to decide Orestes’ fate, and lead a procession around the Globe’s groundling pit following a large, golden phallus! As you can imagine, the idea of not just singing two tricky pieces but also needing to move and perform, filled me with terror. All I could imagine was myself stumbling across the stage or going to sit on my jury stool and falling off in a horrible heap! And we needed to be note perfect on the two key songs in our scene! And we would be doing 20 performances over six weeks – not a small commitment!
Although small, our role of the jury was indeed a pivotal moment in the plot as this adaptation of the ancient Greek play focused on the shift from a belief in the Gods as the arbiters of natural justice to a more civilized society-based concept of justice.
After much blood (over 10 litres of stage blood was split in the making of the Oresteia), sweat, tears and a great deal of laughter within our very supportive choir community, we nailed our parts! There were great challenges – the main one being that we are all untrained singers and we really do not have the vocal power of professional singers which made singing in the outdoors a big challenge. But we held our own – and throughout the experience I found myself using all that I have learnt in Leadership Embodiment Work – developing my sense of presence in order to have an impact in the large space of the Globe. It was also a powerful experience in experiencing vulnerability. In pushing myself to do something I was uncomfortable with, I had to be with and experience great vulnerability. This is a theme I will explore in my next blog post.
Illustration by one of the singers in the Oresteia Choir, Javier Navarro, http://www.arbelogy.com/