Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Did I tell you your voice was orreeble?

This is a bit of a re-cap of sorts today.
Anyone who is a regular reader.
Regular reader? Ha, doesn't that sound grandiose?
(Hmmm nyes regular readers of my column will note that I  am slowly... almost un-noticably....mmmm...nyes... one might, indeed, say, imperceptibly. Nyes most definitely the word... imperceptibly hmm....nyes slowly, indeed, imperceptibly disappearing up my own arse.)

But those of you that are regulars will note earlier blogs about fun and the actors need to find this in everything they do on stage.

Every so often something happens in class that sends a Ding of clarity echoing round this puzzled cranium of mine and today was one of those moments.

The exercise was simple enough: to parody a soap opera
3 or 4 bouffon to do this. There were several successes today. And in general people had fun.

For me my voice has long been something that I have struggled with. Not that I have a bad voice. There is no medical condition that prevents me from speaking and apart from a little sybilance (I think thats how you spell it) there is nothing particularly strange or unpleasant about it.
However, for some reason, on stage, I am at war with it. It grates on me when I am on stage, when I use my own voice and my own cadences and rhythms, consequently I feel dull and boring and as a result become dull and boring. I am sure there is some psychological reason why this is. Sigmund and I blame Mr. Mercer for kicking me out of the school choir at 12 and thus this dramatic event caused me to become self-conscious about one of my main acting instruments, the bastard!

Anywaythe fun that I need seems to evade me vocally, now Philippe has several exercises to try and help the actor discover their fun with the voice and I have done these and found things but the real lesson has never truly struck me till today.

The parodyof the soap opera..... 4 Ross beefs get up to have a bash at parodying Eastenders.
We stand backstage waiting for the drum to kick us off.
I think of my best cockney.

I am on...
I tell yer. I've 'ad enough. Enough I tell yer. Oh. right up to ear I've ad it.
Charles joins me on stage
Whassamatter. wha'iz it?

Hardly Shakespeare I know, but about on a par with some soap writing
Boom goes the drum, signalling the end of this attempt.

Your voice is too realistic for zis exercise.

And at that the sparks explode behind my eyes.

Hallelujah. The revelation I've been waiting for.

I was trying to do my best cockney. A good cockney. Not once did I focus on the fun.
Yes I may have fun to be in the space. I may have fun to play with my partners. Fun to move. Fun to dance but unless I have fun to speak I will never find true freedom on stage.
My focus on being a good actor will always hold me back.
My work will never truly live in the imaginations of the audience because my realistic voice will keep me anchored and prevent me from soaring.
So now this is part of my work.
I either become a mime or else allow laughter, jokes, games and joy to flow from my voice.
To have vocal fun this is my challenge and my work.

Lets see what colours I can find there.

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