Choreographing the Dance of the Tongue

Picture the scene. You’re at the theatre, in the best seats in the house in the middle of the front row of the grand circle. The curtain opens out from the centre, to reveal a cavernous, enclosed space in which a corps of dancers moves in glorious synchronization. The stage, walls and backdrop ebb and flow to the rhythm of the dancers, expanding as they spread themselves out, rebounding as they lift and flick their bodies against the walls or the ceiling. The dancers move as one body, changing shape and transforming the space in which they perform. The dancers leave the space, the light changes, and suddenly a group of acrobatic tumblers bounce in, tying themselves in knots, forming …

What Makes a Great Voice Great? Great Question…

The discerning listener will notice that I sound a bit scratchy at times, without access to my normal range. What you are hearing is my ‘morning voice’, the one I wake up with and haven’t warmed up. It is a sad fact that the older you get, the more you need to warm up! Please – do as I say, and not as I do.

Interview with Cicely Berry

A wonderful interview, Jane Boston (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama) talks with Cicely Berry, legendary voice coach and human being. What do you do when you have different directors with different idealogical approaches to the work, for example Trevor Nunn, who looked for “depth of feeling within characters”, or Terry Hands who focussed on the story-telling aspect, calling for “faster and louder”, while John Bardon looked to “honouring the structure of the verse” “I had to find different strategies to help actors to find their own response, and yet honour what the director wanted” And so much more…Enjoy!

More Thoughts on Phil Willmot’s article

On further thought, after reading some comments made on Phil Willmot’s article in The Stage, I’d like clarify what I think about his dismissal of any acting training apart from Stanislavski, I would say that depends on what your understanding of “Stanislavski” training is.   If it includes all of his later work, in which he encouraged a highly physical approach to acting, then any additional techniques such as Laban or Meissner should integrate well with this. These techniques are, after all, exercises designed to help you to develop your sense of physical, Interoceptive and emotional awareness. They are not ‘how to act’ any more than knowing where the knives are kept in the kitchen and being able to manipulate them is knowing how to cook. Thorough Stanislavskian …

What a Casting Director wants from a Graduate Actor

Here’s a great article from The Stage, in which award winning director, playwright, (and much, much more) Phil Wilmott sets out his wish list. I agree with everything he says, except the part about daily voice and physical training being tedious. In my opinion, if you find your voice and/or physical training tedious, there is either something wrong with the training, or something wrong with your attitude. Obviously, if you are not enjoying this aspect of your process, you won’t engage with it thoroughly. That means you won’t become the highly skilled creative artist you could be. I’m not saying it should be easy, it should definitely challenge you in every way possible. I AM saying the challenge should be …