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11.21.12 Recommendations

11.21.12 Recommendations

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Published by: Mary Mac on Nov 21, 2012
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01/22/2015

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Mary McDonald-Lewis Dialect Coach Recommendations

mary@marymac.com • 503.705.1363 • www.marymac.com
Rave reviews from selected film, television and theater projects on which I have served as dialect coach.

FILM & TELEVISION DIRECTORS, PRODUCERS, WRITERS
Tourette Syndrome, Front of the Class, Hallmark Hall of Fame Neither Jimmy Wolk or Dominic Scott Kay had Tourette Syndrome in real life... they had a dialect coach to work with them the entire time. Mary McDonald-Lewis, also the voice of OnStar... was their coach. She did an amazing job working with them for over 5 weeks.” – Brad Cohen, real-life subject of Front of the Class, a Hallmark Hall of Fame Production
Watch MaryMac’s work on Front of the Class: http://tinyurl.com/bfwx57n

Various dialects, accents, languages, Leverage, Electric Entertainment Your services were invaluable, and you'd only think I was flattering you if I told you about all the great feedback we got from both the actors and writers who worked with you. I look forward to seeing you again during Season 3. – John Rogers, Creator, Leverage
Watch MaryMac’s work on Leverage: http://tinyurl.com/a6zepxk

FILM & TELEVISION ACTORS
Please see the end of this document for a longer letter from star of Leverage, Gina Bellman!

Italian accent, Leverage, Electric Entertainment I did an Italian accent in the season opener and I had to speak Russian and a little bit of German. They have an amazing dialect coach. – Jeri Ryan, Guest Star of Leverage Various dialects, accents and languages, Leverage, Electric Entertainment Sophie’s natural accent is the English one I use in the show although my own accent is a hybrid of New Zealand and British. Sophie is a woman of mystery -- she has a repertoire of accents that she changes as easily as changing clothes (helped along by my brilliant dialect coach Mary McDonald-Lewis). – Gina Bellman, Star, Leverage Vampire accent, Being Human, Muse Entertainment Enterprises I had my ideas as did the show runners, and we were trying to find a balance as far as what she sounds like. Fortunately I work with an amazing dialect coach, Mary McDonald-Lewis. She and I designed an accent and a voice for Suren that was a little bit American as well as a little bit British. We modernized her voice slightly and made it slightly more youthful than Mother’s. One of my main priorities on the first day was communicating with (executive producer) Adam Kane about what they were looking for and how I felt about the character. Then it was a matter of bringing in Mary McDonald-Lewis to communicate with the show runners and with me so that we were all speaking the same language and finding the character’s voice.

– Dichen Lachman North Carolina, Tidewater region circa 1945, Valley of Light, a Hallmark Hall of Fame production MaryMac approaches the work not only as a coach but as a fellow actor with a director's understanding. In our project together she was extraordinarily diligent, ever-present, always positive and personable and quickly became a highly-valued member of the cast & crew family. She is just the kind of person we all want on our project to raise the level of our game. – Jay O. Sanders North Carolina, Tidewater region circa 1945, Valley of Light, a Hallmark Hall of Fame production Mary was always available and very supportive. Ready with instructions on how to improve, but did not make you feel stupid or uncomfortable if the dialect was difficult for you to achieve. It was a pleasure to work with her. – Betty Moyer

STAGE ACTORS
German/Yiddish circa 1935, Address Unknown While working on Address Unknown playing Max Eisenstein, Mary guided me through a German/Yiddish accent. Mary understands the importance of embracing the accent as an essential part of the character. She gave me the skill to incorporate the dialect without giving me any sort of "line reading." The sound of the substitution, the placement in the mouth, where the sound resonates -- these were all key. It was crazy, but at times I felt I was German speaking with an American accent. I have asked Mary to help me since and will in the future. – Michael Mendelson Southeastern Texas, Laundry and Bourbon Mary was there to help the actresses quickly hone in on the different shades of a Texas accent over a very brief rehearsal period. Her ear is amazing and so is her readiness to share her knowledge of dialect resources. Being able to listen to a native speaker outside of rehearsal at the website MaryMac sent me to helped me deliver a decent dialect rendition for the play's Texas setting. – Siobhan Caverly Western Ireland, Sea Marks I was very happy to have had Mary's assistance as a dialect coach during the Mt. Hood Repertory production of Seamarks, by Gardner McKay. Mary helped me to create a believable Irish dialect for a part of Ireland that doesn't exist. Basing it on the separate dialects of two geographically close - yet culturally disparate - regions of Ireland, Mary worked with me in a manner that was both rigorous and patient. By the end of our session together, I felt ready to tackle my character in a more detailed and grounded manner. Thank you, Mary. – Patrick Wohlmut County Devon, England, House and Garden MaryMac has the ability to take complex and seemingly impossible dialects and make the sound changes simple and doable. Recently, I went to her in desperation for a difficult West Country dialect that I was struggling with, and though the theatre had hired a dialect coach, it was Mary who gave me useful and specific advice. As an actor, she understands that dialect is more than just changes in sound, but also in rhythm. She worked with me so that my character sounded like a

real person and not just an actor doing a dialect. – Eleanor O'Brien County Offally, Ireland, By the Bog of Cats Mary McDonald-Lewis coached Irish dialect for a production of By the Bog of Cats in which I appeared. She quickly and efficiently found and recorded speech samples from - not one - but two County Offaly men for us to cut our teeth on. She guided us through individually, and as a group. The result was as authentic a rendering of the speech from the exact Irish locale in which the play was set as could be had - an opinion that was echoed by more than one native speaker of the dialect. – Chrisse Roccaro Llechryd, County Cardiganshire, Wales, Scotland Road Mary's instruction in the Welsh dialect was absolutely amazing. She gave me both the big picture and the little things to hold to tightly. Her ready knowledge of resources was invaluable as it let me look here and there for voices that spoke to me while keeping me on the right path. I highly recommend her services. – Teela Lebrum American Mid-Atlantic, Scotland Road I very much appreciate the assistance Mary McDonald-Lewis provided for me for my character in Scotland Road. Mary's process of modeling for me and her supportive correction was invaluable. I am most thankful for the pointers she gave me, and I am appreciative of her further effort to help me by providing websites to give me more listening and modeling practice. – Arlene East Farsi, Betrayed I got a last-minute call from the Sound Designer for GableStage asking me to record the voices of three Iraqi translators. How fortunate for me that I have a friend in MaryMac! Although we’re separated by some 3,000 miles, within a few hours Mac provided me with numerous tips and resources. They were spot-on exactly what I needed to turn the assignment around with speed and accuracy. I had all the tools I needed to surrogate-coach the talent; it was as if Mac was sitting beside me. She made me a hero in the eyes of the Director. And, how flattering to read the following from the Miami Herald review - the very first sentence: "This is like a drop from the sea of sadness," one Iraqi acknowledges in his plea for U.S. asylum, a haunting voice-over from George Packer's play, Betrayed. – Dave Corey

STAGE DIRECTORS
Antique Received Pronunciation, The Importance of Being Earnest I’ve had the fortune of working with a lot of dialect coaches over the last 20 years. MaryMac is in the top two of my list, the other now serving as the coach for the Guthrie in Minneapolis. – Chris Coleman, Artistic Director, Portland Center Stage German and Received Pronunciation, Kinderstransport Mary McDonald-Lewis provided dialect coaching for an actor involved in a performance I directed of Kindertransport by Diane Samuels. The actor, a diligent young teen, needed to be fluent with

both a German and RP dialect. Mary's approach to coaching is gentle, progressive and comprehensive. Mary disarms and demystifies the dialect, by providing clear anchors for the actor. She gives a clear intellectual overview, efficiently trains the actor in basics and swiftly incorporates the dialect into the text. Mary models and provides the practice that enables the actor to gradually find their feet with the dialect, build confidence to independent work. Mary's supplemental resources - a CD with the text laid down with explanations, provided continued guidance for the actor for review and clarification and continued practice. Our experience was immediately gratifying. Mary is a consummate professional and I would work with her again. – Sacha Reich, Director Cockney and Received Pronunciation, Robin Hood Mary's work with my cast was impeccable. Each member was given individual attention. I can't imagine a better value for the money. I learned a lot just listening from the background as she worked with the actors. I had several comments from the cast about her professionalism and approachability the next day. We were very happy with Mary as our dialect coach. – Brian Allard, Director Welsh and Mid-Atlantic English circa 1914, Scotland Road Mary McDonald-Lewis provides an amazingly accessible way to learn dialect and proper pronunciation. Using contemporary techniques like finding appropriate films and recordings, Mary also has the deep- rooted knowledge of where particular sounds originate from in both the body's geography as well as the earth's geography. Moreover, she can assist with finding the "proper pronunciation" for various contemporary sounds styles, like mid-Atlantic and new British. Mary provides excellent support tools and coaching, with the ability to record dialogue in accent, and to follow up and apply precision to early work with dialects. She is a resource for an entire cast, even if only one character's dialect is present in the project. Watching and hearing Mary teach the dialect allows other cast members to watch a level of work and commitment that then creates a desire to emulate their own voice work for their character voices. Best of all, Mary is joyful in her love of sound, and the bodies that carry them. She provides an accuracy that surprises audiences. I felt I tapped only a small slice of all the knowledge and expertise she possesses. Mary provides not only voices, but vibrations from the past. She should coach every actor, if only to experience her love of characterization. – Rebecca Lowe, Director

CRITICS
By the Bog of Cats Irish playwright Marina Carr's By the Bog of Cats is lush but long-winded, beautiful but bitchy. Like Medea in ancient Greek mythology, Hester Swane (Marilyn Stacey) dabbles in fratricide and laments feelings of abandonment. The play takes place in the Midlands of Ireland on the day her ex-lover Carthage (Jason Maniccia) is to marry the lovely young Caroline Cassidy (Amaya Villazan).... much of the accent work is surprisingly clean and lyrical, thanks to dialect coach Mary McDonald-Lewis (who also plays Catwoman in the show). – Joanna Droubay, Critic, Willamette Week

Robin Hood I was very impressed with the dialect work on Robin Hood. ...fine work with the entire ensemble. They all seemed very comfortable in the Sherwood Forest world. Not only was the tone right, but clarity was never sacrificed. Altogether, the actors' speaking had a consistently clean, "right" sound for me. – Richard Wattenberg, Critic, Oregonian 39 Steps One final tip of the tam o'shanter to longtime Portland dialect coach Mary McDonald-Lewis who's done wonderful work here, especially with Pierce and Smith. – Michael McGregor, Critic, Oregonian The Body of an American The Body of an American is the story is about the relationship between two men, Dan O’Brien, a writer, and photojournalist, Paul Watson. The twenty or so characters are played by just these two actors. And they do it exceedingly well! Goaded along, I’m sure, by not only the director, but also by the Dialect Coach, Mary McDonald-Lewis. – Dennis Sparks, Critic

“Thanks to Skype and the internet, Mary’s brilliant dialect coaching can travel the world with me, in more ways than one!” Gina Bellman ‘Leverage’ TNT

To Whom it May Concern, When I first approached the role of Sophie Devereux in TNT’s Leverage, I did so with a little trepidation. The character was described as fluent in at least twelve languages and capable of mastering any accent or dialect at the drop of a hat! We were often scheduled to complete an episode in less than seven days. Averaging two accents per episode, this left me virtually no time for preparation. I have had the privilege of working with many fine dialect coaches in London and Los Angeles, but none as effective and enthusiastic as Mary McDonald-Lewis. She is tenacious in her research, making recordings and providing aural, visual and editorial references. For my benefit, she has learned speeches in Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Arabic, coached me through Boston, Minnesota, New Jersey, Atlanta, Georgia and General American as well as France, Egypt, India, Scotland and countless other countries! Her particular strength, apart from having an outstanding ear is her flexibility in terms of adapting to the actors’ particular technique. In my case, I “hear” dialect in a visual way, as if reading sheet music and have my own range of symbols and arrows that I apply to the text. Mary has been able to adapt her teaching technique to accommodate my strange symbols and has embraced my personal approach to her teachings. I look forward to collaborating with MaryMac throughout my career. She has provided me with a fantastic repertoire, confidence and a library of cd’s and reference folders that will be invaluable in the future. Very sincerely, Gina Bellman  

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