Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Less Jessica Tandy, More Sissy Spacek…

At the moment, my main activity is rehearsing for a play I’m involved in with some friends. It’s an adaptation of Raymond Carver’s short story ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’ (well, it’s a mixture of the story and the original draft of it – ‘Beginners’). We’re taking part in a competition – there’ll be about 6 or 7 other groups putting on plays, and each performance is about 20 minutes long. The story is great, it’s a perfect piece for a play of that length as it’s simple, with great dialogue and it’s not overly complicated. Rehearsals are going ok for the most part, except my big problem at the moment is the American accent I need to speak with. I’m not good with accents. At all. Any accent I try to pull off inevitably ends up sounding English in some way.

At the beginning, I thought I was managing to pull off some sort of American lilt to my accent, that it was going ok. But then we had a rehearsal where we recorded us doing a run through of the play – and it pretty much just sounded like me just speaking normally, with some sort of sinus problem. So I’ve been practicing and practicing, but on Sunday night, I was horrified to realize I was just sounding like the old lady in Driving Miss Daisy…

Not what I was going for.

So one of my friends sent me the following clip, telling me he believes I could pull off a similar accent…

This accent is a lot more appealing and it rings more true for my character (who isn’t a geriatric old woman).

So I started practicing and thought it was going well…until rehearsal yesterday. Oh. My. God. Awful. One of the others in the play started laughing when I pronounced the word ‘nightmare’ in a crazy, overly-dramatic, Southern-sorta accent “sounds like a nightmaaaaAAAAre.” More work is needed, ‘subtlety’ is the key I think.

And I’m just going to have to watch ‘Badlands’ constantly for the next week and a half.

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