On August 28th at 3pm, I am hosting a free Introduction to Knight-Thompson Speechwork as part of KTS's monthly webinar series.
If you’re curious about KTS, have had a taste of the work and want more, or want to refresh your relationship to it, please join us. I will outline some fundamental principles (perhaps) of this approach to speech and accent training and will lead participants through some introductory exploration of the physical actions of speech sounds. There will be time for questions and answers.
You can register for FREE here.
Long Lost John: A Lennon Family Story written and directed by Ed Zareh opened last night as part of the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival. The play tells a story of John Lennon's early life, exploring his relationship with his mother, Julia, and follows him through his first encounters with Paul McCartney. I coached the Liverpool accents and had a great time! There are two more performances: August 6th at 8:30pm and August 11th at 1:30pm. All performances are at the Theater at the 14th Street YMCA in NYC.
I'm spending a few days a week in CT this summer to teach voice at both the Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford and at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. It's my first year teaching at SA@S, where an ensemble of actors rehearse two Shakespeare plays simultaneously while receiving masterclasses from visiting artists. This year, the ensemble will perform PERICLES and ROMEO AND JULIET in rep on the grounds of the historic American Shakespeare Festival Theater.
It's my fifth summer teaching in the Theatermakers program at the O'Neill. Summers at the O'Neill are always transformative for me and for the student artists there. Every Monday night, the Theatermakers perform for the local community. I'm excited to be in residence for their next performance of original radio plays.
Summer is good in CT!
This summer I'm teaching Voice and Speech in the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Summer Professional Training Program. We had our first class last Wednesday, and the work is already off to a fruitful start. Looking forward to seeing how these actors are transformed by the summer. And it feels good to be teaching in New Jersey again!
Yesterday, I taught in Catherine Fitzmaurice's 6-day workshop in NYC. Each day of this workshop focuses on a different aspect of Fitzmaurice Voicework: destructuring, restructuring, movement, speech, text, and singing. Yesterday was Speech Day. We did some quintessential Knight-Thompson Speechwork play, moving from a physical exploration of the vocal tract to articular isolations to gurning to Omnish. It was a great group!
Tomorrow The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe opens at the Penn State Downtown Theatre. I directed this production and had the honor of working with several student and faculty designers on the creative team. The cast of student actors is doing detailed and precise work. I'm really proud of the production (and delighted to have unearthed my high school soccer skills in the process). Performances are March 27th and 29th at 7:30pm and March 31st at 2pm. More info and tickets here.
My next project starts previews tonight. BEDLAM's production of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and directed by Eric Tucker runs at the Sheen Center in NYC March 16th through April 22nd. It promises to be a production that will challenge your understanding of this iconic story and that will challenge your ideas of how socio-economic class and race contribute to identity and our perception of others. And it will make you laugh.
More information and tickets available here.
Tonight will bring the last performances of White Horse Theater Company's production of the rarely produced Tennessee Williams play, A Cavalier for Milady. The WHTC production is directed by Producing Artistic Director Cyndy A. Marion at The Players in NYC. I coached Mid-Atlantic, Queens, and Russian accents for the play, which has some secrets in it that I won't give away here.
Tickets are available here for tonight's performances at 7 and 9:30pm.
My next project starts previews on February 5th at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. The play is Familiar by Danai Gurira, and this production is directed by Adam Immerwahr. It's about a family who has emigrated from Zimbabwe to Minnesota, and now one of the adult children who has grown up in the States is marrying a white American man. There is Shona-accented English in the play, as well as some Shona language. There are two native Shona speakers working on the production, and we were able to work together to describe the sounds of the language and the accented English. It's been a thrilling process, and it's a wonderful play!
Performances run at Woolly (641 D. St. NW, Washington, D.C.) February 5th through March 4th, and tickets are available here.
Before the holiday, I was in NYC for a little more than a week to teach the Knight-Thompson Speechwork workshop, Experiencing Speech, with fellow KTS teacher, Eliza Martin Simpson. Experiencing Speech is the introduction to the KTS approach to teaching speech and accents to actors (or anyone) and covers anatomy, the physical actions of all speech sounds in human language, descriptive phonetics, and the skills of adjusting linguistic detail in speech. We had a wonderful, curious, generous group of participants in this 21st offering of Experiencing Speech. Here we are gurning:
Last night, Argonautika by Mary Zimmerman and directed by Steve Snyder opened at Penn State. It's an ambitious, stimulating telling of the myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece. I served as Voice and Text coach on the production. Performances continue at the Pavilion Theatre through November 3rd. Tickets and more info here.
Tonight is the first preview of Shakespeare in Love at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. The play is adapted for the stage by Lee Hall and directed by Bonnie J. Monte, and I have coached a spectrum of accents ranging from the Queen's Upper-Crust RP to Webster's Cockney. It's a delightful homage to humanity, artistry, and love. Performances run through November 12th at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison, NJ. More info and tickets here.
I'm happy to say that I will be co-teaching Experiencing Speech, a Knight-Thompson Speechwork workshop, in NYC in December with fellow Certified Teacher (and my former student) Eliza Martin Simpson.
Eliza and I first met as participants in Experiencing Accents, another KTS workshop in 2011 before she became my student at Rutgers University.
Experiencing Speech is a 6-day workshop that provides an introduction to KTS, covering vocal anatomy, the physicality of speech actions, practice of all the sounds in human language, descriptive phonetics, and the skills of adjusting linguistic detail in speech.
This workshop is a prerequisite for the KTS Teacher Certification, and the workshop can be taken in two parts. Registration and more info is here. Join us!
In August, I traveled to Singapore - my first time visiting Asia - to attend the annual Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) conference. I had a wonderful time taking workshops led by voice and storytelling practitioners from Australia, India, Bali, and Mongolia. I co-presented a workshop on linguistic detail in Singlish with fellow Knight Thompson-Speechwork Teacher Jeremy Sortore and native Singaporean and voice coach Petrina Kow. We chose Singlish to explore this core principle of KTS - the principle that advocates teaching speech skills and fluency strategies that might increase or decrease the amount of linguistic detail a speaker uses, rather than teaching a prescriptive pronunciation pattern as a standard. The practices explored in the workshop are part of a larger conversation about the use of the term "formality" in KTS. You can read more of that conversation here, on the KTS blog.
After the VASTA conference, Jeremy Sortore and I co-taught Experiencing Speech: Part One, the introductory Knight-Thompson Speechwork workshop that covers vocal anatomy and the physical actions of all speech sounds in every human language. We had a wonderful group of speech explorers in the workshop. Here we are gurning on our last day together:
This week, I went up to Poughkeepsie to do some dialect coaching for New York Stage and Film. The play is GOOD MEN WANTED by Kevin Armento and directed by Jaki Bradley. It takes place during the Civil War (sort of) and follows the journeys of several women who, for various reasons, disguise themselves as men in order to enlist and fight in the war. It's a powerful and engaging new play, and I had a wonderful time working with some of the cast on these historical accents.
Performances run July 20-30 in the Powerhouse Theater on the Vassar College Campus in Poughkeepsie, NY. More info and tickets available here.
And here's a snap shot from the train ride along the Hudson - always beautiful.
This summer, I'm delighted to be teaching voice in the Larry Singer Studios Summer Conservatory in NYC. It's my first time teaching with Larry, and it's a real joy. The students study voice, physical acting, scene study, and writing for performance. They also attend professional productions and meet with industry professionals in the city. And they receive college credit!
I'm teaching Voice in the Theatermakers training program at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT, for the fourth time. Theatermakers is an ensemble that is made up of college-aged actors, directors, and playwrights. It's a 6-week immersive experience in which the students make and perform new work every week, as well as train with and observe professionals. The group is delightful this year, and we get to work here:
My next project opens at the Toronto Fringe Festival next week. White Horse Theater Company will bring the second production of YOU ARE PERFECT by Cyndy A. Marion to Canada July 7-15. This production is directed by Rhys J. McClelland, and I again helped with the accents. Take a journey into the mind and memory of Susan Atkins. Tickets and more info here.
This is a new website for me, and thus begins a new blog.
I had the privilege of teaching two days in Catherine Fitzmaurice's 6-day workshop in NYC over Memorial Day Weekend. On Saturday, I was part of the Restructuring teaching team, exploring and practicing the FV method of breath support for communication. On Monday, I was part of the Speech teaching team, exploring and practicing all possible speech actions and using them for communication. It was a wonderful group of participants and teachers.