Monday, 7 March 2016

On Performing - Don't be a Twat

  Perhaps especially when you're starting out. Take Simon. He graduated from Oxford a few years ago, set up a one-man theatre company and came to me for voice coaching before his first round of showcases. We worked on Romeo’s "Tis Torture And Not Mercy Speech".
  He commented, 'I have to say I agree with the thought processes you choose to underpin the emotional journey he goes on in that speech. I have an advanced sense of structure these days. We all do. Oxford did that for us. I find I can glean just so much information immediately at the sight-reading stage.'
  'That’s so useful,' I said. 'Now, just say for me again: “sight reading stage”, and remember to move your tongue further back. No…that’s too forward, it’s almost “thight reading “thtage”. No, too spread, we’re getting "shight reading shtage" now.'
  In our second session, he said, 'Now is the time, I’m finding, for me to make decisions about what type of work, and the professionals potentially providing the work, to audition for.'
  'Simon, now is the time for you to audition for anyone who stands still long enough. And could you just say “decisions” again, and be neater with the tongue? The z's shouldn't be sounded as for the native pronunciation of Zsa Zsa Gabor.'
  Actually, Simon was very good. Once we had tidied his speech, I recommended him to a friend to read at a words and music evening. He was chuffed. But then too close to the gig for comfort he said he didn’t think that the comic poem he had been given was serious enough for him. 'And will performing for your random journalist friend - and I've your word that she's anyone of importance - get me where I need to be?'
  He cancelled. 
  'Simon,' I said. 'With a correctly placed tongue, for once, Say “shithead".'

  My random journalist friend was Libby Purves, and other actors that read for her at these evenings included Joanna Lumley, Sir Timothy West and the late Warren Mitchell. 

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