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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Accents
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1082  Saturday, 20 April 2002

From:           Lise Olson <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Apr 2002 10:56:21 +0100
Subject: 13.1065 Re: Accents
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.1065 Re: Accents

I have been a lurker on this list for quite a while, but feel I must
weigh in on this one, Mr. Bloom.

Non-U accents (voice professionals prefer the non subjective term
'regional accents' to describe what they are--non neutral accents
associated with specific regions) are used in contemporary Shakespeare
productions not only for 'concept' but also for accessibility. Most
people in the UK do not speak in RP (the neutral accent that you refer
to). That accent calls attention to itself in places such as Liverpool,
Cardiff, Birmingham, Sheffield, Glasgow (as well as many other places).
The accent that is perceived as neutral in those places IS the regional
accent. Unless you wish to limit Shakespearean productions to those
speaking RP (except for the occasional 'comedic' characters --but that
is your point, is it not ? ) please think again about your idealised
aural vision of Shakespeare. Better yet, keep it on the page--then you
can hear it in whatever accent you desire. Putting it on the stage would
mean that live actors and directors might mangle your singular view of
how the plays should sound.

I have been training actors to perform Shakespeare for over 20 years.
They are working actors, primarily because they have the ability to
perform in the multitude of accents that are required/requested by
casting and theatre directors. A variety of accents does not always
'confuse' or 'sound weird'---often it enhances, enriches and extends the
theatrical experience.

Lise Olson
Lecturer  in Acting/Voice/Shakespeare
Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
Associate Editor, IDEA  http://www.ukans.edu/~idea

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