LiteRARy: Taking to the stage! #7

Real LiteRARy

Welcome to LiteRARy, a new blog feature where I document my time interning at Rhyme and Reason, a spoken word night based in Bath. LiteRARy will be a regular feature where I reflect on the things I’ve learnt from helping to run RAR, and will also act as a sort of diary / keepsake too!

Before, the SU Open Mic last night, I had a few things to sort out. I had had another problem with the Asset Store. There was a mistake on their end, and they fined me for not returning all the filming equipment from the Brewhouse event, when I had. I calmly went to explain to them the situation, and within a few days it was resolved.

Ellie asked me to write the copy for the two upcoming RAR events for the Facebook event pages, one for the SU and one for the Brewhouse event at the end of the month:

My copy for the SU Open Mic:

“Remember, remember, the 14th of November, poetry, and notebooks, and slots! I see no reason why Rhyme and Reason should ever be forgot!

Yes, ladies and gents, we’re back at Bath Spa’s SU for another great night of spoken word!

You can sign up for a five minute slot by posting below on this event page – Newcomers to experts, we’re happy to have you all!

Doors open at 7:30 for an 8pm start.

We can’t wait to see you there!

The RAR team”

I really enjoy writing the Facebook copy for Rhyme and Reason, and here I’ve tried to capture their friendly and enthusiastic tone of voice. I knew Bonfire night had passed, but it was still an event present in the minds of our audience, so I gave the copy a seasonal spin for relevance and amusement, to attract audience members just like businesses do with their social media platforms.

My copy for the Brewhouse event:

“Bubble baths won’t do? Chocolate won’t do either? How about some poetry?

Take some time away from deadlines and destress with Rhyme and Reason! Come and join us one last time this term for a night of fantastic poetry at the Brewhouse!

Doors open at 7:30pm for an 8pm start! £4 entry on the door.

Sign up for five minutes slots below!

Annnnnd….. (drumroll please) our headliner for tonight is Bath Spa’s own, Charlotte Souter!

Charlotte Souter uses her unique and quirky words to voice the issues she feels strongly about. She has performed at Bestival, Camp Bestival, The Big Noise Festival, Last Word, Camden Lock Live and BBC Bristol. She has slammed at the Royal Albert Hall and been published in Mud Presses W OM A N anthology. She is also the co-ordinator for Bath Spa’s slam team. (Charlotte wrote this paragraph herself)

We’re excited to see you again!

The RAR team”

A few hours before the Student Union event, I showed up to get us organised before showtime. I met Nick, the co-director of RAR, and he asked me to order the set list.

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Those who had signed up to perform were mainly newcomers instead of our regulars dominating the night. It was great to see so many new faces eager to have a go. As I didn’t know whether our newcomers performed lighthearted or serious poetry, I had to take a guess with ordering the set list in the pattern of cheerful poetry then serious poetry. As the SU filled up in the minutes before we started, a few of the poets had specific requirements. One newcomer wanted to perform her poem with backing music, so the speakers had to be set up in the SU – because of this, we moved her place on the set list to the first half. Other performers were going to show up late and got their friends to tell us, so if they were in the first half we moved them to the second.

We also had a great audience turn out, there were barely any seats free. Here’s a picture of our lovely smiling audience!

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The first slight problem we encountered was with Eleanor (RAR’s other intern) being ill. It was Eleanor’s turn to bring the equipment to the venue, but due to illness and complications with the Asset Store, we had no equipment for the night. The lack of equipment wasn’t the be all end all situation I thought it would turn out to be. Nick instead just asked me to take photos on my phone of the poets performing throughout the night so we could upload them to the Rhyme and Reason Facebook page.

Through most of the first term of interning, I haven’t performed much poetry at the events because I’ve prioritised the smooth running of the nights over my own performances. Because of other course commitments, I hadn’t written any new poems I could perform in quite a while, but I still wanted to go on the stage somehow. So, on a whim, I asked Nick if I could co-host with him.

When we started, Nick asked me to come on the stage so he could introduce me as a co-host. To get the audience in good spirits, we asked the two sides of the room to have a cheering competition to see who could be the loudest, my side or Nick’s. This was really fun and I tried my best to project an enthusiastic mood to the audience.

For the first half of the night, as well as taking pictures, I paid close attention to Nick’s hosting personality and what he said to the audience. He told me before the night started that he improvised everything he said, so I was nervous before it was my time to help co-host in case I said anything silly. Something I did mess up was the five-minute call before the start of the second half. I said, ‘Guys five minutes until we start, so get your bums cosy!’ which may have been odd phrasing, but the nerves got to me in that moment and I fumbled for something to say. Nick didn’t say anything negative about my announcement, it may just be me being too self-critical.

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The first half flew by, and with the second half Nick introduced one poet and then I would introduce another. I found it hard to listen to the poets because my brain was trying to rehearse what I was going to say on stage when I needed to get back up there again. It was nerve-wracking but the adrenaline was flowing and I was enjoying myself. Eventually I figured out what I needed to say and when. After a poet had left the stage, I would ask the audience to give them another round of applause. I would then briefly introduce the next poet. The second half also flew by and I felt a huge sense of achievement. I’ve done acting in the past and confidence has been no problem for me, but getting up on  stage last night and being myself was quite scary, but I feel I handled it well for a first time go!

 

 


Paul Green

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