Last week, on the 27th April, I had to present an oral presentation about my Honours project so far, to the rest of my Honours Degree cohort.
The full presentation I gave can be viewed here:
Overall I feel it went well. My audience seemed to understand what I was explaining, and many insightful questions were raised in the following question time that was had.
My supervisor and another fellow theatre lecturer were present at the presentation, and were able to provide me with constructive feedback for moving forward in my project.
The general consensus of the audience, was that my project was interesting but needed further refining.
There are points that I haven’t raised so far in my research, and whether those points are addressed through this particular project or not, I still need to address them – which I will be doing so in the coming weeks.
Some of these points were:
“The Australian theatrical company Bell Shakespeare would contest, that they always perform in a sort of ‘Natural Pronunciation’ (NP) accent. Part of their aim, is to make Shakespeare accessible in the modern world, and part of their process is to perform the Shakespeare works in a local australian accent that the audience would be able to relate with. In the presentation, it was addressed that most Australian theatrical companies prefer to perform Shakespeare in Received Pronunciation (RP) accent on account of tradition – and whilst that may be true – it is questionable as to whether Bell Shakespeare would agree with such a statement. On account of their nation-wide importance in the modern theatrical industry, their stance on this subject would most likely be of great importance.”
“Accents relate to politics, culture, immigration, historic conquerers, etc.
How is this aspect of accent-work addressed in this project?”
“Have you read any of Bill Bryson‘s books? Give them a read. They are a bit more light-hearted than what you have been reading, but they may still prove quite information in the shaping of this project?”
“There still needs to be clarification between ‘accent’ and ‘dialect’ in this project. There needs to be a distinction between when you are implementing different “accents” and when you are implementing different “dialects OF a particular accent”.
“The project is alright where it is, but it needs to remain relatively simple in order to engage audiences, and you need to maintain confidence in the legitimacy of your investigation. It’s very interesting, and so make sure that you really believe that and portray that throughout these works.
“The project is still ‘sitting on the fence’ a bit. Find your stance on the situation, and work towards providing a concise argument for a particular section of this discussion”
Some more people to contact and investigate:
Begin to responses and feedback on other practitioners and gather their outlook on accent usage in theatrical performance.
“Have you inquired about Shakespeare performances that might have been spoken over the radio – back when radio was the primary source of communication and TV hadn’t been invented?”
All these questions made good points and show myself, and those reading this blog, that this whole thing is still just an investigation. I’m not trying to set out to prove or disprove something. I’m just trying to raise interesting questions about accent usage in performance.
These questions do spur on my current though processes, which is great, and hopefully in the near future you’ll start to see some of these statements being answered or defined in my project and through its process.
I’m also going to endeavour to establish contact with as many of these practitioners as I can via email – so hopefully I can continue to gain responses to my thoughts and outcomes thus far.
Hope to have some more footage of my rehearsal processes for you all soon!
Stay tuned for more!
Thank you for sticking with me this far! I appreciate it! You’re the best!
For now, this is TattleTaleTony, signing off! :3