Improve your understanding of vocal work

Answer the question then check your response against the sample answer.

Question

You’ve been given the part of a moody teenager to play in a comedic drama set in London’s East End. Which vocal choices could you make to build an effective character?

As the play is set in the East End, I’d know right away that the character would most probably speak using a Cockney accent (unless the playwright has noted that the character originally comes from somewhere else).

The character is a teenager so the vocal register would be lighter and softer and not as deep and mature as an older person.

The personality trait of the character is described as ‘moody’ which means their mood will probably change considerably from scene to scene. My voice choices would reflect this. The voice would be more high-pitched and screechy when the character is angry and lower and more monotone if they’re sulking. It’s tempting to mumble and lose articulation when portraying a teenager. The character could be lazy with their pronunciation because the Cockney accent drops ‘haitches’, but articulation can’t be lost or the audience won’t be able to hear the dialogue properly.

As the drama is a comedy, the character’s bad moods wouldn’t escalate into dark tragedy so the overall vocal interpretation would have to ensure the comedy is expressed to the audience. Repeated vocal mannerisms such as long sighs and huffing when the teenager is reacting to an adult character, could help with this.

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