Jacqui (jacqui) wrote,
Jacqui
jacqui

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Hi Everyone,

How ya been? I'm hanging in there. Still praying and hoping, or hoping and praying that I'll find my way out of my financial mess. Feeling better physically, the stomach flu passed and now the cold is going away. Than you God!!!

I like answering questions at this website I've belonged to for a while called ask.com. I'm afraid to include the link because for whatever reason, even when I'm certain my html is perfect, and I've closed the brackets and everything, my journal tends to turn all the following text into hypertext, argh, frustration. I hope I figure it out one of these days. For now I just usally put links at the bottom of the page, but even then it does something weird to my comments link.

Anyway, I answered a couple of theatre questions today, and whenever I answer one I like to put them up here for fun, (I'm thedabera). So here they are;

pete796 asked this question on 3/15/2001:
If a character dies or gets killed, as part of the show, should they come back at the end, to take the curtain call?

ThedaBera gave this response on 3/17/2001:
Hi Pete, It looks like plenty of people have answered this one, but I want to toss my two cents in, because this is one of those questions that gets me going.

Of course an actor who dies in a play is entitled to take a curtain call. For all the work that actors put into their art, one of the loveliest rewards they get, is to be able to receive the appreciation of the audience, who have taken this journey with them.

I think it's also important to finally break the fourth wall at the end of a piece. That's just my opinion though. Some directors disagree. I HATE tableau type curtain calls where the poor actors have to sort of remain frozen for a moment as their characters. I don't think it's fair to prevent people from taking their bows.

In the case of a play that is tragic, where one of the actors dies on stage, it can be helpful and provide some closure for the audience, when they can see the actor and are reminded that it's not real, that it's been a piece of art. I don't think that there are too many playgoers who are naive enough to believe that when an actor has died on stage, he may be dead in real life, but it's cathartic in a way, to see that the actor is all right. Then they can experience a kind of relief, as well as have an opportunity to applaud his or her work.

They, you, we are entitled to that moment of communication with the audience. I think it's an important ending to the journey.

Hope this helps.

Jacqui

swprequels asked this question on 3/16/2001:
I have an audition to do pretty soon. But it requires a british accent. Can you give me some tips, if you have had to use a british accent before? thanks

-jason

ThedaBera gave this response on 3/17/2001:

Hi Jason,

I wish this were the kind of question you could answer in writing, but how can I do an English accent and have you hear me? The only way would be to demonstrate it, I can't explain, other than phonetically, what a soft a should sound like, or the placing of the voice. English accents are sort of round and the voice sits further back in the mouth, it kind of rolls off the tongue, it's more musical than ours, and sometimes you don't use R's, there's a lot of the ahh sound instead of our ae sound. I purse my lips a lot. : (

I can tell you what I do though, and maybe that will help somehow;

I am always working on accents, (I'm lucky in that I have an affinity with them), not in an annoying way that would bug everyone around me, but when I'm alone, and once in a great while with strangers. I am constantly listening to accents in movies, to people on the street, and on video and television. Just last night we (my son and I) were watching a funny Crocodile Hunter video, and we were both trying to do Steve's accent, (Crikey this crocks a big un and ees needin a sexy Sheila). I listen to tapes. I have books that I used in college and still use and I have books and tapes I've bought since then at Sam French Hollywood.

In fact that would probably be your best bet, if you live here, swing by Sam French and pick up a copy of their British accent audio tape and monologue book. Then you can practice in the car or at home. If you don't live near there, and don''t have enough time to look for something like it in your area, how about going to your video store and asking the clerk for videos that are filled with characters using the accent you need to do.

Do you know the type of British accent that is required? You probably already know this, but I thought I'd mention it just in case, there are many different kinds of British accents, according to class and location. You wouldn't want to do a clipped, nasal, upper class accent, if it's for some kind of street tough role, or a cockney accent if you're a lawyer who lives in London.

Hopefully you know the type of accent you should do, and can kind of do a passable basic British accent. All I can really suggest from there is tons and tons of practice. I mean nonstop, steep yourself in it, do it all day and night, go to bed doing it. Sing it in the shower. Talk to your dog with it.

There are some great phonetic books you can buy too, but it will take you time to learn the phonetic alphabet. If you can do that now, the next time you have an audition, you can map out your monologue, or whatever sides you are going to read, phonetically, and memorize it that way. There are quite a few actors who have played foreign roles that way, as well as actors who don't speak English, who've done the same thing when acting in English speaking films. Juliette Binoche when she first crossed over, comes to mind.

One more consideration; depending on whether this is an audition for a film or a play, they might want to have an actor who is actually British, in which case they would go with the real thing over an American. Some actors like to take a risk and come in to the audition speaking in the accent, leaving it up to the auditors to guess whether the actor is authentically British. Sometimes a lie can get you a role. I know of a lot of actors who've done this and in the end it was just a cute little anecdote. Then again if you can't pull it off don't even try.

It's no different from coming into an audition acting just like the character you're reading for. Whenever I've done this I've landed the role. If the character is wildly sexual, you come in acting like you want to have sex with everyone you meet. If the character is shy and shut down you can be a bit shy and shut down. Or you can be a blank slate and become the character when you read. Or you can just be charming, moderately friendly, and professional. Too friendly can seem nervous and forced. Okay, well I wish I could do more for you. Break a leg and let me know how it goes.

Hugs,
Jacqui

ThedaBera recommends buying a book with the title, author, or subject: Acting With an Accent, David Alan Stern .
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