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 his program by inviting everyone to speak in Omnish*, fully physicalising/embodying various emotional states as he called them out. Next, the instructions were to find your partner on the opposite side of the room and tell them how you felt in Omnish after the warm up leader called out various scenarios. The first was “pissed off”, the next was “you really love them, but you can’t actually touch them”. Then he selected one pair, who expressed their annoyance with each other (most vigorously!) until he sent in another actor to try and calm them down; then another walked past and attracted their attention, changing the dynamics of the scene until yet another entered and the mood and tone shifted again.
At this stage I suggested to the leader that he invite others to join in, one at a time, as if it were the situation of the monologue they are working on. They would begin speaking in Omnish and then slip into English whenever they felt like it.
So. Much. Fun. I would pay money to see that play.
*Omnish is the language, invented by Dudley Knight for Knight-Thompson Speechworks, which includes every sound that occurs in every language that is known to exist in the world at the present time.