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!

Not Another Post About Warm Ups!

Oh yes! Because you can never have enough ways to warm up, and to challenge yourself to understand why the Warm Up is essential. Why warm up? Why not just rock up to class, or rehearsal, or the performance and just do the thing? Can you, indeed, switch from your everyday ways of moving, sounding, thinking and being in your normal life to ways of moving, sounding, thinking and being AS IF you lived a different life, for the purpose of inviting an audience to share in aspects of that different life. In my book, the answer is always No. You can’t. Nobody can. You can get better at making the switch as time goes by, make it in less …

Brief Encounter with an Archetype

‘I enjoyed your workshop yesterday very much. It felt a bit like Commedia del Arte without masks and without having to keep to your character’s stereotype. Using text with these archetypes was a great exercise towards “truthfulness” of the lines. As an actor I want to be flexible and open for new things when I work on a character and going through the different archetypes with the text allows me to train that flexibility and openness I want to achieve.’ Yesterday afternoon I had the great pleasure of introducing a small group of 3rd year students to the process and concept of working with Archetypes.  I volunteered to give a free workshop, and they chose to show up of their own …

The Magic of Omnish

We are halfway through my final term of teaching voice in my current position, and this morning I had one of those magical moments that make teaching acting students so special. Our first years are all taking turns at leading a short warm-up in class, and I’ve been at great pains to encourage them to be inventive, to mix and match exercises they may have learnt elsewhere, to make connections between their voice training and all their other classes and training. And boy, have they responded, with humming while doing squats and star jumps, different emotional sighs, singing rounds (including something from The Hunger Games), and an amazing range of tongue twisters – including “Benedict Cumberbatch”. This morning, a student concluded …

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 …