Voice and the Mountain

Today was quite a day, in the scheme of things. I was invited to sit in on Micha Espinosa’s voice class at ASU, indeed, I was given a mat, a zafu and a ball and invited to join in, so I did. It was wonderful. Relaxing, invigorating, inspiring and revealing in equal measures.Then I was invited to lead a class. It was an honour to step in to help out, as the scheduled teacher was suffering from laryngitis.  This was an undergraduate class, first year students, still getting to grips with the basics of voice work.

Time and again, I found myself quoting June Bloom, rephrasing her words so as not to freak myself out!  The past few weeks I’ve been concentrating on promoting the narrative side of the play, June’s story, her relationship with her son, the challenge of dealing with the intrusive stranger. Today it was far more important to highlight June’s mission in life, which is to promote the value of the voice in performance, and to demonstrate by example how it contributes to the life of Shakespeare’s texts.

After lunch, Lauren picked me up and we set off to find Estrella Mountain Community College.  I was disappointed to discover that it is not actually up on the mountain, but I assume one of the mountains that form the backdrop to the college is indeed Estrella Mountain!

Our Phoenix director Angela arrived, Lauren and I changed into our cossies (that is Australian for ‘costumes’) and we did a dress run in the Plaza Gallery, the venue for our performance on Thursday. We are doing a slightly shorter version at Estrella, to fit in with the college timetable, but hopefully we shall revert to the full version for the Fringe performances.

We were pretty darned pleased with ourselves. The room is quite lovely, an octagon with a high ceiling and a fantastic acoustic. There are lots of opportunities to absolutely send the voice out ringing the rafters (metaphorically speaking – there are no actual rafters).  I’m looking forward to rediscovering our play in the company of students thinking they are attending a lecture…