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 training will give you these skills too, but different people respond in different ways, so I always recommend a mix and match approach where possible.

What is most important is to appreciate that all training exercises need to be incorporated into your very being. At that point, they are already there, you don’t need to DO them in order to ‘act’.

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.

E15 students combine vocal and physical training through Archetypes

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 something you look forward to, that you want to commit to.

If your training establishment does not offer this dream situation of daily voice and physical training, create it for yourself. Seek it out elsewhere and incorporate it into your daily life. You won’t be sorry you did.

Clown Actor Workshop in London

at the Bread and Roses Theatre

Come and play for 4 hours, on Wednesday 5th April, 12 noon to 4 pm. I’ll be in town with Dame June Bloom, performing in the evening, so I’d love to spend some time exploring all aspects of our creativity.

From Red Nose to classical Shakespeare performance, who nose better (or whose knows is better?) than the clown how to play?

Bring a text, a story, a song, an instrument, an idea or just bring yourself. We’ll work with Ira Seidenstein’s Quantum Clown: Slapstick to Shakespeare techniques to free up a few silly cells in our bodies. Let’s play!

Cost £40. Booking is essential. Limited places (maximum 10).
Contact Flloyd to book your place

Share this Post

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 time, but only when you really, really know what you are doing. Not just know in your mind, but in every cell of your body – and that takes practice.

So what is a Warm Up, but practice? Practising. Training yourself to be more efficient, more flexible, more specific, more creative, more responsive – and let’s not forget the unspoken one, more responsible.

Here’s a little taste of a couple of exercises we did in yesterday’s voice class. But it’s important to note that we only did this after we had a great sit down discussion about what, exactly, we are warming up and why and how.

Your Whole Self:
a) Your whole body, including muscles, joints, heart and lungs, limbs (including feet and fingers), and of course, larynx
b) Your vocal sound, including phonation, pitch, articulation and enunciation, resonance
c) Your intellect, including powers of observation, concentration, focus, attention, AND
d) Imagination and
e) Emotions
By doing everything at once?

That sounds daft, but actually YES (in a way). Because if you are not being imaginative, creative, playful as you are doing your physical warm up, you are not training yourself to be imaginative, creative and playful as you move in performance. If you are not making some form of gentle sound as you warm up your arms and legs, when do you learn how to move and speak at the same time?

As for emotions… We have them, cooking away inside us, all the time, sometimes so light and subtle they are hard to realise, sometimes so powerful they are hard to control. So use your warm up to notice how you feel, notice how that feeling is fleeting, and how it morphs into something different. All the time.