Vocality : an exploration of the actor's voice in the production of metamorphosis at the Hexagon Studio Theatre, UKZN and at the Grahamstown Festival (2011).
This case study explores aspects of actors’ voices in the Grahamstown production of Metamorphosis using action research with practise-based research techniques and self-reflexivity, focusing on emerging themes and subthemes. The director’s function in developing actors’ voices into a coherent artistic vision is also elaborated, including the role of a voice director (voice coach) with a comprehensible knowledge of the praxis of theatre voice, including the unique sonic properties of the actors’ voices in a safe environment with understanding of the challenges of multicultural voices working in languages other than the mother tongue. The centrality of the voice in scripted theatre is acknowledged. A Voice Evaluating Tool was implemented to assess problematic areas of actors’ voices, and these findings were incorporated into a daily exercise programme. Actors were encouraged to focus on the dramatic text, lexical meaning and connotations of the word (spoken and unspoken), and invest time and effort into clarity of communication skills, including the immense influence of non-lexical gestures, silent acting and the pause within the vocality (voice production). The actors’ vocal accomplishments evolved noticeably during the genesis and final performances of this production. Body and voice were intertwined, contributing to the creation of complex and believable characters who distinctly define and clarify intricate emotions and moods.