Ben Corbett | Learning from my three-month old niece
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Learning from my three-month old niece

21 Jun Learning from my three-month old niece

My new baby niece is a voice master.  She has no need for Linklater voice classes, no need for audition workshops, and no need for private voice and tutorials or confessionals.  She is already connected to her desires, trust me.  That little power house can fill a space quite easily.  Over winter break, while vacationing with my family in Colorado, that little girl, that newly-born package of thoughts, feelings, and desperate needs, awoke a  three-story cabin with wails, crying, and screams.  (6:00 am….I needed to get up anyway.) Throughout the day, she is as receptive to her environment as an open nerve.  The slightest movement or noise in the room piques her interest.  Her voice and body responds instantly with wiggles, coos, chirps, giggles (she loves my husband…she’s still not sure of me).  She blocks nothing out.  She is open to every impulse, every trigger.  She is a response Jedi.

What a tragedy that we lose this connection to our environment and to ourselves as we get older. After years of learning that we might not receive love from others if we say the wrong thing, or making sure we vocally fit in with a peer group, or any other actions we exercises to make sure we are acceptable, our powerful voices become drab, quiets, monotone, and ineffective.  Often, we identify this voice with being an adult, with growing up.  What a fate that awaits us!  This voice used onstage and onscreen is often called “natural” and “like real people talk.”  What a horrible drab world we must live in, then, if this is our daily world.  This voice risks nothing, and hides everything.  This is life? We live in a wonderful, harrowing, painful, glorious world.  We, as actors, must speak from this experience.  If we’re truly adults, then we are brave enough to speak emotionally, impulsively.  Haven’t we, as adults, earned this right through our experiences?

Keep screaming, dear niece.  I’m listening.




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