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Voice Work


Yolanda on voice work

Actors at the Globe have a lot of background noise to contend with, from both the audience and the elements. My job is to make sure that they really know how to use the space vocally, and that by projecting their voice effectively they are audible over whatever may be happening in the space. Often we start using a higher register in an effort to be understood in a large space, when in fact a lower register is more audible. This process of lowering the voice is called ‘centering’, and I encourage the actors to centre their voices and increase their volume in order to be heard.

When we’re watching rehearsals the director concentrates on the characters and story, while I’ll be focusing on the actor’s voices. I note when I can’t hear someone, suggest what they can do differently to improve their audibility. Often the director will note when certain actors are having trouble, and ask me to work with them to make sure that vocally they are heading in the right direction. This is particularly important for actors that have not performed in the Globe space before.

I make sure that the show is using the full potential of the space. The Globe is a unique building requiring a unique style of performance. Although many theatres have a thrust stage with the audience in a semi-circle, we still often experience a ‘picture-frame’ effect, with the actors working forward on the stage. The Globe has a canopy and two pillars and the actors often think that they should remain at the front of the stage between the pillars, so that the action is framed like a television or film screen. But if they do this it means that the audience members sitting at the sides or behind this point won’t be able to see. I have to remind the actors that they are acting in the round.

 Glynn works on the movement of the actors. She ensures that the actors are using their full physical potential, by looking at their posture and alignment and how they carry themselves. My job is not so much how the actors move but where they move.

Usually I work during the morning with the actors on the stage, usually 3 times a week for an hour. Sometimes the director will ask me to take certain individuals who, perhaps, are new to the space and work with them.