The Bargain, written by Sir Philip Sydney (1554-1586), read by Wyntner Woody
I’ll get to the American voices I love and admire shortly, but as I have started with Rachel Stirling, an English actress, I thought an English actor might be a propos: Derek Jacobi. Gosh, there are so many great voices to choose from.
Here, from Richard II, a 1978 BBC production I first saw on a small TV screen in a college library “media center.” It remains as electric a reading to me now as it was then.
Full, rich, open vowels, barely touched upon consonants, invisible breathing and a rich resonant timbre that handles a whisper as mightily as a shout that can fill houses — all supporting a wealth of meaning that is entirely persuasive for the character . I only regret I have never seen the man perform live.
[This post is the first in an occasional series of voices I love to listen to and admire for their beauty and subtlety of expression.]
If you know me, you probably know of my admiration for many English theater voices, fine instruments in their own right and trained. There are just so many of them. Not to mention the Irish, the Welsh and the Scots. The UK just teems with high talent and they know how to select it, guide it and use it.
I saw, or rather, heard, Rachel Stirling for the first time in The Detectorists on Acorn TV and found myself gobsmacked, as they say, by the most beautiful contemporary female voice I have yet heard. The quality of subtlety in her expression, the consonants that disappear, are mere markers, allowing the open vowels to be carried along by a zephyr of breath…
Here is the lady speaking conversationally, beginning around 00:00:35. (Sadly, I could find no clip from the show). You can hear the natural beauty of the voice here (I see she is the daughter of Diana Rigg, another great voice), but not how she puts it to work. (And it has matured a bit since 2001 with even greater nuanced subtlety. Any young actress interested in voice for theater, may I suggest it, or anyone interested in the beauty of the voice, ought to see episode 1 of The Detectorists.
To show the flexibility of great language to a variety of reading styles, here is another recording of the same poem, purposely denuded of obvious emotionality, but still with a certain low-key intensity, hewing more closely to its inherent rhythmicality.
Of course, this implies that the speaker of the former reading is not he of the latter. We have the freedom to imagine expansively, rather than simply suffer the constraint of acting with reference to one’s own remembrance of personal emotionality. The result: a dramatic (no pun intended) difference in the ideas ultimately conveyed.
I’m very pleased to have been hired to narrate the non-fiction title, Horse Tricks, by Keith Hosman, a well-known Texas horse trainer, for use by his equestrian clientele throughout the U.S.
I am very pleased to announce that Deyan Audio (www.deyanaudio.com) has added me to the casting roster. Please visit their site for more about this fine audiobook producer and their (extensive) credits and awards.
ZERO-TWO, in which I play the lead (and sole character on screen) premieres at the AFS Cinema in Austin, TX, tomorrow, Sunday, June 26, 2016 at 4 PM. $5.00 Details here.
This SAG-AFTRA short film is the production of a group of young filmmakers, led by Elisabetta Lucia Diorio. “Young” gives a mistaken impression. I should say, rather: youthful, but very advanced and capable for their apparent ages. I think you’ll be surprised and delighted by the work. Music has been scored and dance choreographed for it — all by Austin talent.