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Sonorous Theatre - Dark voices in revolt: Uniting the core, proximity and the human voice in crisis


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Lewis, R (2011) Sonorous Theatre - Dark voices in revolt: Uniting the core, proximity and the human voice in crisis. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis outlines the process of combining various non-conventional Occidental
and Oriental voice and movement practices in order to create an alternate method of
training and performance. Throughout this investigation, a series of original training
methodologies have been developed which comprised of five distinct yet
interconnected stages, and several performances that incorporated these training
aesthetics. The training of voice and body as one entity is not a new concept, and
many theatre practitioners have experimented with these elements.
The convergence of voice and body has been investigated for most part of the 20th
Century and has continued to develop throughout the past decade. Physiologically, the
voice is housed within the body. It is therefore logical to initially focus on the
physical aspect of vocal training, and to combine the separate voice and movement
training in both logical and illogical senses in order to unify these two separate yet
interconnected elements. This investigation does not claim to discover a new
performance aesthetic, actor training method or a new physical and vocal training
aesthetic. It aims to examine various combinations of existing Oriental and Occidental
methods in order to discover an alternate to the multifaceted area of the human voice
in performance pertaining to the notion of ‘crisis’. The work explored throughout this
investigation, using the Voice Theatre Lab as a means of exploration in training and
performance, is the result of the application of various synergies, dichotomies and
contradictions. These contradictions and abstract applications abandon literal and
textual realities, and focuses on opposites and non-conventional means of vocal
production and physical states. The result is a series of training and performance
aesthetics that go beyond the quotidian forms of physical and vocal expression.
The title itself, Sonorous Theatre - Dark Voices in Revolt: Uniting the core, proximity
and the human voice in crisis, represents these illogical and contradictory aspects.
Sonority (deep and resonant), relates to the overall affect the performers extra-daily
instrument has on the immediate (performance space and other performers) and
surrounding (audiences and the peripheries of the performance space) spaces. In some
Oriental viewpoints, ‘dark’ simply means ‘inner’ or ‘deeper’. A ‘dark’ voice would
therefore refer to a voice that has connections deep in the body. By eradicating logic
and textual reality, the performer would have greater access to the deeper parts of the
unconscious. This will result in a genuine sound free from idiosyncratic patterns that
may hinder the reality of the vocal and physical expression, which would therefore
hinder the reality of the performance. Overall, the concept of a ‘dark’ voice is a revolt
against conventional Occidental vocal practices in the theatre.
Vocal expression and voice work provides the key for the performer to rediscover
their mysterious entity – an inner voice of the unconscious through improvisations
and non-verbal expressions. Voice Theatre Lab are not bound by the semantic
meaning of words. The freedom from not having connections to meaning enables
performers to explore a range of concrete and abstract elements. This investigation,
and Voice Theatre Lab’s ongoing work, aims to maintain the view that voice is indeed
an immensely important tool which has been neglected. Also, physical and
conceptual crisis, as opposed to freedom, relaxation and textual, ‘literal reality’, can
benefit the voice and allow it to flourish and reveal its many colours and nuances.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: voice, movement, theatre performance, Butoh, Suzuki
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Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2011 01:29
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 01:06
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