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Finding a Voice: An approach to the human voice from the perspective of singing, speaking Shakespeare, and gender studies

  • Author(s): Navaille, Grace Maye
  • Advisor(s): Gallagher, Patricia
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

The basis of this research is in my performance of the characters Duke Senior and Duke Frederick in the 2015 Shakespeare-to-Go production of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, directed by Profesor Patty Gallagher. Using my artistic and technical background in the singing voice, I attempt to bridge the many gaps found in the human voice: the perceived difference between singing and speaking; the disconnect between body, mind, emotion, and voice; the vocal disparity found in the performance of the binary genders (and the power that can be found in femininity, the traditionally weaker gender); and finally, the power Shakespeare’s plays have to connect these gaps within ourselves and our culture. Ultimately, I propose a vocal technique for the stage that channels the essential humanity of the actor, which can be found by confronting the primal self and its needs and re-discovering the holistic union of body, mind, and spirit. I also argue that cross-gender casting – and ungendered casting – is a viable casting option; and that, when appropriate, abandoning the performance of the binary genders (which limits our vocal and emotional ranges and stifles our creativity), can lead not only to a more equitable stage when performing classic works, but can also create a more diverse, representative, and essentially human experience onstage.

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