The Actor and the Voice

The Actor and the Voice

The Actor and the VoiceA funny scene in a film has you laughing just like some characters in the scene. A sad scene has you tearful, just like some characters in the scene. Why is this so? This is because the audience is feeling what the characters feel in the scene. How is this possible? Effective voice modulation or vibration of the voice in response to emotional input is the answer. You must experiment with different emotions by rehearsing different scenes and noticing your voice in them.

In the film Sholay, can you imagine how Thakur Baldev Singh (Sanjeev Kumar) would have sounded, had he delivered those stirring lines in a weak quavering voice like Imam Sahib (A.K. Hangal)? Such a voice quality would have been fundamentally against the strong character of Thakur in the film.

A poor voice quality just like physical body limitations is linked directly to the repressive and restrictive atmosphere you have been born and brought up in. Your inability to express yourself in an unbridled way or give free rein to your emotions in your early years because of an orthodox family atmosphere can have a restricting impact not only on the way your body moves but also on the ability of your voice to express itself fully. If the atmosphere at home never allowed you to shed your inhibitions as a child, you might very well be stuck with a voice that is not functioning anywhere close to what it is truly capable of delivering.

On the other hand, if you always had to scream your head off to get attention, it will prove difficult for you to speak in a gentle voice with the same authority. An actor must also analyze the script and if need be break it down into smaller manageable sections. Much of your character study takes place during this procedure.

Try understanding your character in relation to other characters in the play. Does your character require you to play someone who does not like the other characters? Do the characters share history before the time period of the movie? Does a bold character annoy your character, who is a wary person?

How does your character relate to objects in the movie? For instance, if your character is told to drink wine, will his relation to the wine be different than if he’s gratefully quenching his thirst on a sunny day? Objects work well as good partners when they have a meaningful relationship with the character. Objects are capable of providing the same psychological stimulus as another character.

These relationships come to the surface at the time of rehearsals but a few ideas beforehand will make your rehearsal process more productive.

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