finding our voice

November 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Guest post from Christmas Carol cast member Martin Hughes

One question that I’m frequently asked as an actor is, “How do you remember all those lines?” Learning lines and dialogue can be a very difficult portion of any actor’s process, but most will be quick to point out how much more difficult everything else involved in acting (relating to your scene partner, playing a set of circumstances believably, being open and receptive to each moment, etc) can become when having to layer an accent on top of all of that. When I first learned that Hugh Laurie was British, I was blown away at how capably he was able to play Dr. Gregory House with such an authentic American accent; it wasn’t just that the character sounded believably American, but that he acted believably American, all the while being played by a non-native American.

These thoughts crossed my mind as we sat in rehearsal recently with our dialect coach, working to perfect the varying aspects of the dialects of our respective characters. As we progressed through rehearsal, it was truly incredible to hear my fellow actors begin to discover the voices of their characters. Certainly, the intentions and emotions with which they were playing their scenes were spot on, but, all of a sudden, they would discover a vowel sound that truly unlocks the sound of their character, and you could not only hear, but feel, that new energy in the process.

So, yes, learning lines is quite difficult, but having to learn an accent on top of that is a completely different animal. It’s this amazing attention to nuance that helps bring life to this cherished story, a life that we are happy to share, and cannot wait for you to share with us!

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