Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Performances 2

"The last time I was here I was playing someone very front footed, very vocally present. And what’s been interesting is playing somebody whose intentions are slightly more veiled and who’s maybe playing one thing, but thinking another. And what that does to you, you do sort of bring everything down a little bit. So it’s been quite a challenge to be very vocally dynamic through that..."

As the show finds its feet, Sirine discusses the vocal demands of the character, the show and the space.

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Time: 3 minutes 34 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Rona Kelly: I think when we last spoke, you said you’d had your first vocal session on stage. And you were very confident and you were like, ‘I’ve got this, I’ve got this!’ 

Sirine Saba: And then it all went wrong!

RK: ‘Can’t hear you, can’t hear you!’ How have you found coming back to the Globe and performing on that stage? And getting used to the stage vocally again?

SS: Yes. Again, more challenging than I thought I would find it. It’s interesting playing a character whose motives are slightly hidden, and what that does to you vocally. The last time I was here I was playing someone very front footed, very actively supporting another character, very vocally present. And what’s been interesting is playing somebody whose intentions are slightly more veiled and who’s maybe playing one thing, but thinking another. And what that does to you, you do sort of bring everything down a little bit. So it’s been quite a challenge to be very vocally dynamic through that. And then what I found I was doing was by being vocally dynamic, I started to become slightly physically over dynamic...as is my wont anyway! So marrying the two has been more challenging than I thought it was going to be. But I think we got there. And now when Janice, the voice expert, comes round with her piece of paper, there’s nothing on it! Whereas I used to have [a few]…in fact, she was in a couple of days ago and all I got was a little, ‘Well done!’

RK: Yes!

SS: And a little cross! But you know, we’re two months into the run so I should flipping hope so!

RK: You guys get out on stage before the show starts, do some stretching, do some fight calls. What kind of vocal activities do you do?

SS: Well personally, it’s usually about extending my breath because I tend to run out of breath quite easily and that’s always been the case with me. I sometimes just don’t have enough breath. I think I’m a real believer in the line endings and in the verse structure and not to be absolutely dependent on that. But I really love the energy of the verse speaking and that takes a lot of vocal energy. And sometimes I just don’t have it, and sometimes it means that I’ve got to breathe at the end of every single line, which is fine I don’t mind doing that. 

But for me it’s breath control, and so I try and really stretch into my lungs and stretch into my back. And because the Globe is almost circular, you spend some time with your back to the majority of the audience. So you have to do a lot of back breathing to make sure that you’re carrying through your back, you’re carrying your voice through your back. So yes, that sort of thing. When I have time, I like to do a bit of yoga but not really for...I mean we’re stomping around in heels, which is not something I feel very comfortable doing. So I do feel like I have to protect my body from any repercussions of being in heels. I think when you’re not used to it, you get little aches and pains in your lower back and all of that. And the Globe stage is quite unforgiving. It’s oak, it’s very solid oak so there’s no give, it’s very, very, hard. So ankles, knees, lower backs have to be protected

RK: I think Josh [Lacey, Orsino] who was in the Twelfth Night company, he was doing the ceilidh, the Scottish country dancing. And he had to land on his knees every single night.

SS: Oh, my gosh!

RK: Every single performance. By the end of he was like, ‘I feel like an old man!’ Because it was taking such a physical toll.

SS: Last time I was here, I did a lot of dancing on stage. And I was constantly at the physio with my knee, because you don’t realise but the wear and tear (luckily this time it’s a little more poised), but it was very hard last time.

Thanks to Alison for the transcription of this interview.

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