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Unlocking Character Through Voice: A Journey from Page to Stage

Updated: Mar 15


Introduction


Welcome to the inaugural post of my blog, a place dedicated to exploring the intricacies and revelations of the performing arts. Throughout my diverse journey, I've gathered a wealth of experiences and insights that I'm eager to share with you. This blog aims to serve as a bridge between my world and yours, offering reflections, advice, and discussions on the art and craft of performance. Whether you're a seasoned professional or an aspiring artist, I hope to foster a community where we can all learn, grow, and discover the transformative power of performance together. Now, let's delve into the essence of acting and how our experiences shape our artistic expression.


A few people know that I started my professional career with several seasons as a ballet dancer at the Metropolitan Opera. Before that, I worked for a BA in Dramatic Art at Rutgers University. But only about 10 years ago, after decades of directing opera and coaching acting with singers, that I returned to acting. I wanted to act so that I could experience once again what it is like to be you. I wanted to memorize lines, find the character, offer the character in an audition - and have my work judged and assessed.



Discovery Through Experience


My acting comeback, after decades behind the scenes, was more than a career shift; it was a revelation. On stage, I realized that my voice, an instrument I thought I knew, was capable of far more. It wasn't merely about projection or clarity but about IT embodying the essence of the character.


Having reached a certain age of, let’s politely call it ‘seniority’, I found I was getting cast in Shakespeare as the wise old mentor or the dying king. Contemporary film and drama had me cast as the religious cleric, or else as what I call ‘the old coot’ roles, usually involving dementia in one form or another.


What I discovered was that my voice, an instrument that I thought I know, was capable of an unexpected range of expression. Whether whispering the fears of a haunted heart or bellowing the lamentations of a dying king, I found that the source of my voice was the emotional content of my feelings. In other words, my voice is completely anchored in the feelings my character is trying to convey. It IS the instrument of the emotional response, and not just sound and words.


Practical Application in Performance


For fellow actors seeking to deepen their performances, consider this: your voice can and should be a reflection of your character's emotional landscape. Distinguish your portrayal by grounding your vocal choices in the unique emotions and thoughts of your character. Reflect on how their experiences, fears, and joys alter not just your voice's pitch or tone but its very essence.


Connecting with the Audience


Our ultimate goal is to connect with the audience, to share a story that resonates and moves them. This connection is forged not by showing but by sharing. Let your voice be the vehicle that carries your character's emotions from the stage to the heart of every audience member. The difference lies in intention: aim not to display emotion, but to evoke it, to invite the audience into the character's world.




Conclusion


The journey from page to stage is a voyage from thought to expression, from solitude to shared experience. As actors, our task is to bridge these worlds, using our voices as the vessel. I encourage you to explore this connection in your performances, to discover the depth and breadth of character that voice can convey.


I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences on how voice has shaped your performances. Have you found certain techniques particularly effective in embodying your characters?


For more insights and tips on acting and vocal performance, watch the related YouTube video channel "Page to the Stage". Don't forget to subscribe for future updates, and please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Your feedback not only enriches your community but also helps us all grow as storytellers and artists.







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