Although we have focused on audition preparation the past couple of Wednesdays, the purpose of this session was back to focusing on our voice. The aim of this session was to do some sight reading and look at how we would read it aloud to audiences. We were given ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ to look at and the first thing we noticed about the piece was that there were rhyming couplets. The danger with reading a piece aloud that has rhyming couplets is performing it in a ‘poetry voice’, where you fall into the same rhythm throughout. Therefore, our aim was to break it up and break this rhythm.
In order to break the rhythm, I learned that we have to work the piece to the meaning, once we know the meaning, it will be a lot easier to break it up and emphasise the more important words, I was paired with Lou and Jack for this task.
We broke up the script and worked out where to put emphasis/ full stops in order to break the poetry voice pattern. We worked this out in our groups, and decided where we thought it would be best to change the poem to make it sound a little more engaging when read. We then all read out our changes in the poem to the whole class individually.
After everyone had a go at reading the first section out to everyone, I was able to take different techniques out of everyone and keep them in mind, including: silences to keep audiences waiting and get them to anticipate the next section, excitement, volume changes (whispering), using our breath, character voices and gestures (especially with words that you would be unlikely to hear), In order to capture your audience’s attention.
People have different opinions when it comes to reading well known pieces with rhyming couplets, some prefer the traditional rhythm that comes with the couplets. Others, however, would rather change it up, this is how I prefer it, especially after this session because it can be interpreted and read in different ways which keeps it exciting.
Overall, I learned of different techniques when it comes to reading traditional and well known poems to other people and these techniques can be used for other poems when looking for the meaning. I found that when I broke it down and looked at which words to emphasise, I was really able to focus on the meaning of the piece and understand it a lot better.