Written by Margarita Morgan
July 10, 2014
This is not our production, but it is the location where we performed.
During the last rehearsals for a play, our director was worried that my quiet voice was going to be a serious problem. This production was the result of a government program that employed several students from the local university in various roles as extras, stage, dress and make up crew. The first performance was to be given in a formal setting where many prominent people would attend. It was imperative that my voice came through since the play was in an open air theatre where the colonial architecture would be a perfect setting for our version of the play Romeo and Juliet.
The first time I heard my own voice in a recording, I wanted to cry. I was very young and just received a brand new portable recorder as a present. The idea was to tape music, but I could not resist and started speaking into the microphone thinking that if I practice with the tone of my voice, I could very well be a great radio host one day. My dreams came down crashing as I heard what I thought to be the most annoying and wimpy voice ever, but at the same time I was not easily dissuaded.
As a self conscious teenager who hated her own voice, the role of Juliet’s nurse presented an opportunity to show off all the hard work I’ve been investing in working with my voice for many years, but I was still hesitant to brake through my fears. I was waiting for the last minute to use my character’s voice because I was embarrassed of the comments I would get from everyone else.
On the first dressed rehearsal, when the director told me that if I continue to suppress the volume of my voice he was going to use my understudy instead, I didn’t freak out, I became enraged. Purposely, through the course of the first scene I was in, I walked away from the hanging microphones and when it was my turn to speak, I belted out my lines with not just strength in volume, but with a distinct old lady voice that was completely unexpected and as I heard later, very well done.
I realized then that my voice could be whatever I wanted it to be and for the first time ever, knowing that I could speak anyway I wanted, I chose to keep my voice the way it was. Perhaps the idea that I could change it any time I wanted gave me confidence. Perhaps it was the idea of surprising people here and there. Whatever the case, it was an extraordinary experience that in many ways help me appreciate the way I was.
The Daily Prompt:
Can’t Stand Me
What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?
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