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 …

Anatomy of the Larynx

Something technical, just for a change. My colleagues at VASTA posted a link to this tutorial on Facebook, and it is just the most wonderful resource:  one episode in a collection of clear, detailed tutorials on the anatomy of the larynx. I know some people find it challenging to deal with the “how it works” part of the voice. I’m not one of them, I just love to know how things work, how the different parts of the body interact and support each other – collaborate, indeed – to give us the actions we call our own. So please, watch, listen and learn. Follow up with the next tutorial, and the next, but don’t get bogged down in the technical terms, …