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Voice and the Actor

Voice and the Actor
Your Price: $17.99 CDN
Author: Cicely Berry
Foreword by: Peter Brook
Publisher: Wiley
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 160
Pub. Date: 1991
ISBN-10: 0020415559
ISBN-13: 9780020415558

About the Book:

Voice and the Actor is the first classic work by legendary voice coach Cicely Berry. Encapsulating her renowned method of teaching voice production, this straightforward, no-nonsense guide covers everything actors need to know about controlling the voice, their most important instrument. It includes detailed, clear exercises and explanations on developing a natural stage voice, relaxation, breathing, muscular control, enunciation, and pitch and timbre, with special advice on difficult delivery problems. Professional actors do these voice exercises all the time – without them no actor or speaker can achieve their full potential. And legions of them – Sean Connery, Samuel L Jackson, Emily Watson, Helen Hunt – have done them with Cicely Berry, the Voice Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Illustrated with passages used in Cicely Berry's own teaching, Voice and the Actor is the essential first step towards speaking a text with truth and meaning. Inspiring and practical, her words will be a revelation for beginner and professional alike.

What people say:

"Cicely Berry has based her work on the conviction that while all is present in nature our natural instincts have been crippled from birth by many processes – by the conditioning, in fact, of a warped society. So an actor needs precise exercise and clear understanding to liberate his hidden possibilities and to learn the hard task of being true to the 'instinct of the moment'. As her book points out with remarkable persuasiveness 'technique' as such is a myth, for there is no such thing as a correct voice. There is no right way – there are only a million wrong ways, which are wrong because they deny what would otherwise be affirmed. Wrong uses of the voice are those that constipate feeling, constrict activity, blunt expression, level out idiosyncrasy, generalize experience, coarsen intimacy. These blockages are multiple and are the results of acquired habits that have become part of the automatic vocal equipment; unnoticed and unknown, they stand between the actor's voice as it is and as it could be and they will not vanish by themselves. So the work is not how to do but how to permit: how, in fact, to set the voice free. And since life in the voice springs from emotion, drab and uninspiring technical exercises can never be sufficient. Cicely Berry never departs from the fundamental recognition that speaking is part of a whole: an expression of inner life. After a voice session with her I have known actors speak not of the voice but of a growth in human relationships. This is a high tribute to work that is the opposite of specialization. Cicely Berry sees the voice teacher as involved in all of a theatre's work. She would never try to separate the sound of words from their living context. For her the two are inseparable." — Peter Brook, from foreword to Voice and the Actor

About the Author:

Cicely Berry CBE (1926-2018) was a British theatrical voice coach whose unconventional methods made her one of the most revered and influential figures in British theatre; she worked with actors ranging from Peggy Ashcroft to Samuel L Jackson in a teaching career that spanned nearly 70 years. She trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. After graduating, she was hired by the school as a voice instructor. Her reputation steadily grew and led Trevor Nunn, the Royal Shakespeare Company's artistic director at the time, to hire her as the company's first voice director in 1969, a post she held for 45 years. Her passionate work as a voice director influenced the stage and screen performances of generations of British actors, including Sean Connery (whom she coached at her home in the 1960s before she joined the R.S.C.), Judi Dench, Emily Watson and Patrick Stewart.

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