The case for learning about sonnets – in reverse

Working – or playing – with sonnets is a fabulous way to learn about how language works, why poetry CAN be its highest form. But where do you start? Ask just about anyone what they know about sonnets, and they will probably say “iambic pentameter”.  Then ask them what that means. Some will know that it refers to a kind of rhythm, most will say it means 10 beats to a line, and some that it means 10 syllables to a line. That is not what the words actually mean, but they are on the right track. Let’s break it down. What does ‘iambic’ mean?  Perhaps you know it refers to a specific rhythm, the one that occurs when you have an unstressed …

Playing comedy – for real

A young actor remarked to me the other day “when you play comedy, you can’t be real.”  My response was a heartfelt denial. Broadway actress, Andrea Martin, 5 times nominated and 2 times winner of a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, says in today’s New York Times, that “comedy comes from dedication to a role, rather than angling for laughs.  ‘To go into something thinking, How am I gonna get a laugh?  Is really disastrous in a play’”. Her current co-star, Tracee  Chimo, agrees: “You want the audience to laugh, and you want them to enjoy themselves, but you can’t ask for it – it’s a funky balance,” she said, “like walking this beautiful tightrope. You just …

Freshly Reviewed

Here, out of the blue, is a lovely review of the warm up app by voice, accent and text coach  Keely Wolter in the September 2015 VASTA Newsletter. Being in Voice Price: US$3.99 This is VASTA member Flloyd Kennedy’s app, and it is a steal at twice the price.  The app provides a good deal of groundwork for beginners, and a handful of warm ups that range in length and intensity.  I actually use this one often myself, and sometimes do the less intensive exercises in the car during my morning commute.  Flloyd’s lovely voice leads you through each exercise and it is a great way to start your day!  

And Now For Something Completely Different!

News just in… I am about to head over to the UK for a 10 month stint teaching voice at E15 Acting School.  It’s impossible to tell you just how excited I am. First, of course, there is my upcoming solo show, “Yes, Because…” which opens at the New Globe Theatre, 220 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, 6th, 7th and 8th September at 7.00 pm.  Tickets are now on sale online at Trybooking or you can contact me directly, with your phone number and I will call you back to take your booking.  This is a show about acting, touring, ageing, parenting, and – of course – Shakespeare! And I am still working with the delightful film students at FilmTV Studio International for …

Great Group Warmups 1 – The Ball Game

Picture the scene: a group of eighteen intelligent, imaginative and hard working actors, or sales people, or executives, or teachers – for example… They are all present and on the floor in good time for the session, standing in a circle and laughing and chatting nervously, excitedly. Two questions: What is the fastest way to get their attention, to help them to become focussed and to stay focussed for the rest of the session? Why would you want to do that? The quick answer to 2. is easy: because they will learn more if they give the work in hand their full attention. Of course. But more important than that, they will discover that being focussed, and staying focussed takes …