Tag Archives: preparation

Noises off – Voices on

I’ve just had the most wonderful two days working with the Hills Players, a group of amateur actors from a community north of Brisbane who applied for, and were awarded a grant from the Regional Arts Fund to engage my services.  They wanted to work on their voices to develop more power and clarity of expression, and to support their voices in a healthy and sustainable way.

I introduced them to my mini mini vocal warmup (based on Eric Armstrong’s morning warm up), then to the Vocal Function exercises (handouts on the Handouts page). We explored the vibrations in our bodies and the fabulous sounds that occur when a group of generous souls commit themselves to a ‘group hum’.  The first day concluded with a series of improvised soundscapes. We experienced a motorcycle race (with crash), a visit to the beach (with near drowning), a hike through the forest (with a storm), a spooky chase through streets and houses (with mayhem on the freeway) – what a dramatic time we had, and all with nothing but the human voice and the occasional tapping fingers.

Today we revised the warm-ups, and I took them through the 15 minute warm-up that I had put together for Ira Seidenstein’s Quantum Mime Intensive (also now up on the Handouts page).  For this one, I gave them two alternatives for working on their resonance: The Hungry Giant and friends, and Cello/Viola/Violin. The former is based on Linklater’s approach, the latter is from the work of Roy Hart.

After lunch, I decided to challenge the group to investigate for themselves what happens when you try to speak as simply as possible, stating the fact, with no agenda, that you are where you say you are. It’s pretty straightforward, you just position yourself somewhere in the room, and say “I am here”. Sounds easy, eh?  Try it!  See if you can catch yourself 1) pretending 2) defending 3) protesting 4) insisting – oh, the possibilities are endless. Then try to say it without any of those added sub- or super-texts, or objectives. Your only objective is to speak the truth of the moment, that you – yes, YOU! really you  – are – that means right now, as you are speaking – here – not there, not sort of here, but actually and only specifically here.  I love this exercise.

Then we leapt into the land of the Laughing/Sobbing game, which I learnt from Marya Lowry at the 2004 VASTA conference in New York. I LOVE this game.  We laugh, and we discover that for some it comes easily, and for some it seems incredibly difficult. Why? Because it is deeply embarrassing to find youself doing fake laughing. It’s embarrassingto listen to, so you don’t want to be the one doing it. Learning how to let go of the fear, and discovering that you are actually in control of your own attitude, so that you can choose to be amused and to REALLY laugh is quite an experience.  Then, to discover that all you have to do is change your own attitude from being happy to being sad, and suddenly you are sobbing, and it is not FAKE, and what’s more, you can switch it off whenever you choose – now that is control. But it is such a light, hands-off control, there is nothing forced or tense about it. Joy.

One of the participants asked me to record the Mini Mini vocal warm-up, so I did, with my Blackberry. Here it is. Apologies for the poor quality of the recording, but I think it’s pretty clear.

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Open Slather

I’ve just removed the password protection on the handouts, and video demos. Having thought about it long and hard while I was away, I have decided that I would much rather everyone had access to these, and that people actually made use of them.

Of course, you will get much more from the exercises if you do them under supervision, with a teacher or trainer whom you trust.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to chat about any of the exercises, or to enquire about matters to do with actor training, or voice coaching.

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“Deep Voice” is coming to The Acting Class

Just back from my trip to the States, I managed to sleep from 8 pm till 3.30 am, so here I am…

And I am inspired!  So much rich inspiration at the VASTA Conference in New York, catching up with the work of Kristen Linklater, Catherine Fitzmaurice and Patsy Rodenburg,(in workshops) and Arthur Lessac (4 weeks short of his 100th birthday) gave a totally wonderful, political and joyous Keynote speech. He actually danced down the aisle to receive his Lifetime Honorary Member plaque!

I collected my copy of the latest Voice and Speech Review, dedicated to “The Moving Voice”, and an article by Marya Lowry has reminded me just how far our voices will take us, inwards and outwardly, if we allow them the space and size of our imaginations. So –

Not only will be working on our Archetypal qualities, physical and vocal, but they will be HUGE. We will be playing with some of the lamentation work I did with Marya six years ago, Frankie Armstrong’s Voices of the Archetypes and the Roy Hart work I have done with many wonderful teachers and performers over the years.  There will be much laughter, and many adventurous explorations.

And in a day or two I will report on the performance of The Fall of June Bloom which I gave at the conference with my amazing co-actors, John Graham and Micha Espinosa.  Suffice it to say, for now, that it was very well received…

See you Sunday week!

June Bloom at VASTA

June Bloom at VASTA

Jerome (John Graham) and June (Flloyd Kennedy)Jerome (John Graham) and June (Flloyd Kennedy)
watching Shakespeare in the Parking Lot

watching Shakespeare in the Parking Lot

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Preparing a Monologue

Now that you’ve chosen a monologue to work with, here are some thoughts and ideas about how to begin to approach the text.

Start by thinking about, and acknowledging where you want to end up – sounding as if you know what you are talking about – sounding as if you are the character who actually speaks those specific words because they express what the character needs to say at that moment.

Rather than trying to ‘do acting’ at the beginning, begin by getting familiar with the actual words, by taking the time to say those words clearly, honestly and specifically.

I’ve chosen a short passage from Romeo and Juliet, but the same principle applies to contemporary text, to ALL text.

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Hot stuff

Yes, it is indeed hot stuff from where I am sitting right now, with the fan blasting hot air into the hot space around me. 36 degrees Celcius, and rising, according to the weather bureau. But there is one good thing about sitting in an invisible ocean of hot air, and that is the conscious awareness of air as being something all pervasive in our lives. Usually we just take it for granted, never giving it a thought unless something interferes with our own personal supply.

For actors, and singers, that often takes the form of a teacher or trainer asking you to ‘think about your breathing’. Immediately we do so, it all starts to go ‘pear-shaped’. Then the exercises turn into a process of doing consciously what we normally do unconsciously (breathing), only in the unconscious way, rather than the conscious way!

That is where the Fitzmaurice work we touched upon last week is going to come in very handy. It is designed in such a way that we are conscious of breathing, but (eventually) unable, and/or unwilling to interfere with the process, and that allows us to extend the breathing capacity, to fine-tune it for our needs and ultimately to be responsive to the process of thinking/feeling/being/doing which is speaking out loud.

The ‘Russian’ way I introduced you to last week works on similar principles. Do your vocal practice, and you are acting, or performing, however you like to term it. All voice work should be acting work – and vice versa!

I have emailed the first part of the ‘full’ warm up program to class members. I have uploaded it here also, Full Warm Up Program for Performers Part 1 and if anyone would like to contact me for further information, or suggestions for future posts, please do so via the ‘comments’ section.

You will notice there is also a new page, “Warm-ups, exercises, rehearsal and performance preparation”. This is where I will host the links to handouts, as they become available and relevant to the class.

Incidentally, if you haven’t already done so, please use the RSS link to ensure that all Being in Voice blogs are downloaded to your computer as they appear online.

Flloyd

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