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“The most elementary fault and that in most urgent need of correction, is the overstraining of the voice because one forgets to speak with the body.” ~ Grotowski, Towards A Poor Theatre
Think back and remember a highly emotional (good or bad, happy or sad) event in your life. Now, think about the sounds that you made that were connected with this event. If you screamed in terror, wailed with grief or screeched with glee, chances are your body responded appropriately and allowed you to make big, free sounds, sounds that may have startled you. Sounds that made you think, “Did I just make that sound?” Sounds that you perhaps had no idea dwelled within you or that you were capable of making. As performers, we strive to be that open and authentic vocally, but what often happens is we end up trying to manufacture and “push” this sound out, which results in us straining our voices. Bodily expression, as discussed in An Acrobat of The Heart A Physical Approach To Acting Inspired By The Work Of Jerzy Growtowski by Stephen Wangh, is essential to discovering one’s open expressive voice. There is a “disconnection between body, voice and emotion” that comes not only from our own “personal psychological” histories but is “reinforced by the absence of physical gesture” in our North American culture.
There is no doubt we all have many physical tensions that interfere with our ability to be fully free vocally but it is in understanding, uncovering and examining these tensions that we can learn about our bodies, which will in turn let us know our voice better.