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Kamen Brown

Voice
Assignment 1
Compare and
Contrast
David Wotton

As a musical theatre student, there are many
different aspects of the voice we have to look at
when acting. Without doing this, we would not
have an understanding of how to use our own
voice. On Thursday we recorded ourselves reading
out a 30 second piece from a newspaper article, a
poem and a monologue. We have now listened
back to the recording and now in this essay I will
go through tone, colour, modulation, volume and
pitch individually. Having listened to my recording
there are many aspects of my voice that I would
like to work towards changing in my future
training. My newspaper article was from the Metro,
my monologue was Seymour’s one from Little shop
of Horrors and my Poem I chosen was Dulce et
Decorum Est by Wilfred owen.
When I read out my newspaper, I had a very
serious tone in my voice to help show that it was
not a light hearted or funny article. However, it
then changed when I got to my second piece as my
monologue character, Seymor, is meant to be
more light hearted and humorous. It then became
more dark and serious when I got to my poem as
the main themes around Dulce et Decorum Est are
Death and War. Throughout the three recordings I
would say I used my tone of voice very well. I am
quite happy with the variety of colour in my voice
as I switch to and from different emotions. Another
important aspect of our voice we have to look at is

pitch. This is how high or low your voice is when
speaking. I have quite a low larynx anyway so I
speak with a slightly deep voice. When doing my
monologue however, I raised my pitch as it helps
to show the character better as he wouldn’t speak
with a deep voice but for both my newspaper and
poem I spoke a little bit deeper then I usually
would to help set the dark or serious atmosphere. I
am overall happy with my natural pitch.
From listening to my recordings, I have found out
that something I could improve on is my diction
and pronunciation of words. In all three recordings,
I do not say my T’s in words like water. This is
because of where I am from and my accent/
dialect. Glottal stops and a lack of pronunciation
are common features of my natural accent and so
it will be challenging to get out of these habits. I
have never spoken properly and I have always
used glottal stops. I am going to work on this and
hopefully stop using them very soon as it will make
me more understandable to everyone I talk to, it
will also make me sound clearer in performances I
take part in. Another thing that could be worked on
is my volume when I speak. I spoke at the same
volume all the way through my recordings when I
could have varied for each character/ reading. I
could have also made my reading more fluent.
It is important when reading aloud to go at a good
pace so that when listening back to it, it sounds
clear and understandable. Even though I could still
improve at it, I was fairly happy at the speed at
which I spoke at. I also need to improve my
breathing when reading as I took breaths in at the
wrong time, causing me to stop and start in the
middle of a sentence, I know that if I improve on

this then the piece will flow better and be more
fluent.
In my newspaper article reading, it has quite a
dark red colour to it to show that it is a serious
piece of news regarding the refugees, if I used a
bright colour to it, it wouldn’t suit the piece.
However, my second piece required me to use a
bright happy tone as the character I was potraying
is usually a happy go lucky type of person.
I am quite a lazy talker when I speak meaning I do
not modulate my pitch at all in a sentence which
makes my pieaces sound plain and boring. I need
to improve that and speak with more modulation
so my pieces actually sound exciting and have
some character to them. This does not affect my
pace however.
When I done my monologue, I done it with a
Scottish accent, which I struggled with because
whenever I usually do this piece it is done using a
New York accent, so I certainly struggled with
having to suddenly change it to my normal accent.
I also struggled with the pronunciation of the end
phrase of my poem, “Dulce et Decorum Est, Pro
patri mori”, so I will have to remember to look over
words I may not understand for next time.
By the end of my first year, I want to be able to
speak at a louder and clearer volume, I want to get
rid of my glottal stops making me able to speak
more properly, I want to be able to modulate my
pitch more so that when I am reading an article
aloud it sounds more entertaining and whoever will
be listening will not get bored or put off. I know
that if I can improve all of these things about my

voice then It will make me a better performer and
therefore make me more employable, which is
what I am hoping to get out of my voice classes
this year.

POEM
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through
sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

MONOLOGUE
I know you think Mr. Mushnik's too hard on me.
But, I don't mind. After all, I owe him everything.
He took me out of the Skid Row Home for Boys
when I was just a little tyke. Gave me a warm place
to sleep, under the counter. Nice things to eat like
meatloaf and water. Floors to sweep and toilets to
clean and every other Sunday off. A lotta garden
clubs have been calling - asking me to give
lectures - imagine me, giving lectures. I never even
finished grade school. And, I know I need new
clothes, Audrey, but I'm a very bad shopper. I don't
have good taste like you.