Monday 27th February 2017- Character and Voice

We started the morning with Lynn looking at character and building characters from the dominant ideologies but also trying to keep them relatively realistic. We walked around the room and revisited the ways  that different people move and walk. We talked again about how young toddlers struggle for balance and how emotionally they react very different to what we do. Also how when representing an elderly person, they often have to shuffle, struggle to get up and sit down and also waddle when turning due to their bodies hurting. After this exercise, we then proceeded to a new task where we sat in a circle and would pull out character stereotypes at random. We would then have to characterise them physically and with our voices, in a way that was instantly recognisable but didn’t state exactly what character they were and was still with in the realm of realism. The first one I randomly selected was ‘An Aging Rock Star’. For this I decided to use a husky voice, as if they had a weaker voice from years of singing and probably smoking. I also built on the common stereotype of people wanting celebrities autographs so when I did the improvised scene with Will, I said I wasn’t doing autographs anymore. Also I chose my language carefully and made sure to use words that had connotations of performing as a rock star and rock music. On top of this, I tried to play him cool and used language such as ‘man’ and ‘dude’ as this is something I associate with old rock stars. For the second character, I got an ‘Old Knowledgable Sailor Man’. For him, I had to act as if I had just entered the wrong room. When I entered I said that the weather was ‘awful stormy today’ and that I needed to get back to the ‘harbour’ if anyone could point me in the right direction. I hunched myself a little as I wanted to show he was elderly and also that he had to work in an environment that required a lot of manual work, so would likely have back or joint problems. Vocally, I gave him a typical sailer accent, so that people would automatically recognise the stereotype I had been given. Finally, the last character stereotype that I had to play, was a ‘Manchester Stoner Bloke’. For this I used the MManchester accent, as this was one of the main things vocally that could tell the audience a key part of my character. I also made my voice low, to make sure I was clearly portraying a ‘Bloke’. I sat on a chair with my legs open, as this is a typically masculine way of sitting and I thought that it would help emphasise the character. For the language, I talked about how amazing everything was and shared the mimed drugs with Jess, whilst we talked about women in a stereotypically manly way. I think I was successful at characterising all of these three characters, and the group managed to guess who I was playing each time. We then took the idea of having recognisable characters built off of dominant ideologies and applied it to the Shakespeare ‘Twelfth Night’ scene between ‘Viola’ and the ‘Clown’, that we looked at on thursday. We were to use one of the randomly selected stereotypes for the Clown. I was paired with Karolis and he chose to play the clown as they ‘Extravagant Gay Man’. It actually worked pretty well with the Clowns lines and could be a modern-day interpretation of the character.

In our voice lesson, we started by Lynn playing two notes on the piano and we went around the circle with our eyes closed to see if we could identify if she was playing the same note or a different one. It was surprising to see how many people were incorrect as for myself I found it relatively easy. This may be due to the fact that I have singing lessons each week and have previously learnt piano, so am more accustomed to music and note finding. However it was still a fun task to get us listening to pitch and finding notes. We then warmed up our voices with a round of ‘Our poor bird’. This helped us prepare for our main task, which was to do ‘word orchestra’. This is an exercise where you get given a list of words each in a pair and also a scene scenario. You then have to use only these words and your voice to tell the story. This helps us to vary our tone, pitch and look for all the possible meanings and interpretations of the words. It was such a useful task and working on it with Ryan was highly enjoyable. We got given a hairdresser scene and it was interesting to see how the words could be used in a way to make them make sense. It definitely got me thinking about how important your interpretation of the words are and how you need to be able to vocally translate your intended meaning when acting.

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