Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jeremy - The Thinking Voice

“The thinking voice”

For twenty-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents you can purchase a two-hour DVD on Haunted Actor Training. This two hour DVD goes through the dos and don’ts of acting. Basically it’s two hours of how to keep things simple and tone everything down so you don’t appear to be over acting or appear to be some kind of jackass. In this DVD you will learn such invaluable lessons as what to yell at a passing person to frighten them without being offensive. Never say for example, “I’ll kill you.” Instead say, “Get out!” Never say, “I’m gonna stick this knife into you and feast on your intestines.” Instead say, “Get out!” Never say, “You’re trapped… The exits are all far behind you… This box on the table is filled with corpses of children… Take a peek; I’ll stand over here. Don’t worry; I’m way over here… Next to the light switch…” Say “Get out.” Oh, and make sure your Get Out is simple. There will be no, “Get out you assholes,” or “Get out mother fucker!” That is not appropriate. (Smile.)

The thinking voice

The concept of the thinking voice had been around since the threshing circles, but had never been fully understood until the birth of radio theatre. The microphone did not allow ninety eight percent of an actor’s technique. Tricks of up-thrust bosom or hip-waggle, or smirk, or belch, or eyebrow waggle couldn't help; the blind microphone revealed only the characterization portrayed by the thinking voice.

The thinking voice

Theatre dies you know. It dies over and over again. And its rebirth is usually not beautiful. It is not like a phoenix, dieing in an explosion of heat and brilliance, letting itself fizzle while knowing that no matter what it will live again. It will blaze again. No… Unfortunately it’s more like a failed science experiment that no matter how many times you think you put all the right chemicals in, you still blow up the room. In this case the theatre is not so much reborn as a new group of scientists come in and say, “Hmm… That time it blew up the room… Strange… Oh well, let’s try it again. No, don’t fuck with the formula, it say right here how to make it.” Boom…

The thinking voice

The belief that the Audience is stupid has never been written down in any books on acting as far as I know. It is spoken aloud though. It is a concept that helps… Somebody… I’ve never been able to figure that one out. I’ve been backstage when the words are spoken, usually like this: “The Audience just doesn’t get it. So fuck ‘em. Tonight we do the show for us!” But as far back as I can remember I never really knew what that meant. The DVD talks about the Audience. It doesn’t call them stupid, it calls them drunk, rude, and then stupid. A Haunted Actor it seems has the worst Audience of all of us. At least when we’re in the middle of Our Town someone doesn’t walk up to you a shout “Oh bullshit- like I’m so scared,” and in the dark cop a feel of Emily’s breasts. (I’ve lost my train of thought… Oh yeah…) Of course the Audience is not stupid. The Audience is only bored. The Audience has only stopped listening. The Audience has gotten lost because he already knows how the play ends and doesn’t really like the monologue that you’re gushing at the moment.  The Audience is upset. The Audience is intelligent and yet has somehow been forced into the worst role of the play… (I’ve lost my train of thought again…)

The thinking voice

How do we express ourselves only with our voice? How do we use the thinking voice? What techniques must we master in order to reap the benefits of the thinking voice? What are the benefits? Are you serious? Really? Okay… Imagine a world where less is less. Imagine a world where tone and articulation and projection are beneficial to the actor. Imagine a world where it is just as important that the Audience understands you as well as hears you. Imagine a world of incredible acting where the thinking voice leads you in one direction as the thinking body moves in another. Imagine a world where we our dreams can be properly expressed through words instead of only feelings. Imagine an actor who thinks through the words he is speaking and uses every moment to express himself instead of crap shooting his lines against a wall. Imagine the sounds of love and not just the sight of it…

Oh… And I bought the DVD… Party at my place?



  1. I will bring wine, we will watch this together. Then 'act out' what we've learned in typical acting scenarios. Those exist, right?

    words! words! These are the things that theatre is made of. Born of words, yet only able to stand up through actors, yet...the actor's body is it's tool. Interesting to think about.


  2. I will gladly have a screening. Then we may all learn from their wisdom. Wait until you see he scenes where he shows you the proper way to scare his girlfriend...