Dialogue with Fia
E. My problems with my voice seem to always come from learning that the voice is so personal - that we are our voice. So when I have muscle issues or whatever, I take that extremely personal.
Fia. I don’t think we ”own” a voice, but the voice lives in you in some way. It is easy to think that "this is me, this is mine." But, no the voice inhabits you more than you actually own it.
I understand that you can identify with your voice. And that is a fairly lucky thing, to be able to identify with one's voice, to feel that you belong there because then you belong in the world. But a voice exists in a context: it is not only in you, but in the whole environment that in turn affects your voice (and has done so throughout your upbringing).
There are so many implicit norms and structures that are not visible, that we live with and that we relate to, and about how people relate to each other which also affects us very strongly. The room we give each other!
The voice has its own substance, its own capacity and content.
E. This certainly opens the mind for so much more. When the voice isn't Me, there is so much more you can do with it. And the voice is not against you!
F. What I have fallen in love with in Roy Hart's work and philosophy is that the Voice is everywhere.
Okay, the tone formation is here (she points to the neck), but the voice - it can be in a knee, in a toe, in contact with a floor surface, in relation to a wall. It is the whole voice and its surroundings, which live in our bodies but also in other people's bodies, other people's beings and the room we are in. So to make our own instrument open up beyond the limitations that we live in and have lived with: that is, so to speak, the task.
Elisabeth. I do not have an acting education myself, so everything I do on stage is based on the fact that I am a singer. My title is "Certified Concert Singer" (mit Konzertexamen, bitte!). That kind of education is solid, but it has been "singing, singing, singing" and "Elisabeth's voice, Elisabeth's voice, Elisabeth's voice”. The focus is on You and Your Voice! The Voice becomes a huge part of You and your Persona. When it works, it's great, but if it gets out of balance it is easy to lose your sense of self (speaking for myself, obviously)
F. Then I can also understand that you have had such joy to have worked with Hanne (Dieserud) at the Theater of Cruelty.
E. YES! And also with your Roy Hart workshops. Fantastic! Your way of talking about the voice, that it is everywhere, (even in a toe!!) is so wonderful. How am I supposed to relate to the fact that a voice is in a knee ?! It is more like a GAME!
F. Yes, for that kind of work anchors the voice in something other than the purely ”vocal.”
Who is the actor? Well, the actor is the one who remembers, says Radu Penciulescu FN - Grotowski, too, says that it is the body who remembers. And the voice is in the body.
Contact between body and memory is so damn important.
The voice and the body inhabit us. And it is not the case that we can take them for granted, they are to some extent autonomous - they have their own qualities and traits which in turn present opportunities. Different parts of our bodies carry different experiences.
In this regard, I speak based on my knowledge as a physical actor. That is, by focusing on parts of my body, by paying attention to them, I find, or rather receive, material. To embrace the qualities and traits in one’s body. To go to certain places in the body in order to pick up things.
And to be there, to let the breathing go there, to let the vibration go there.
That's what I mean by having the voice in a toe: that in a way, you get in contact and enter into dialogue with the toe. But only the right intention gets you to the right place, so to speak.
It is that you get beyond that which is predetermined and planned, as I think art should be.
E. To give yourself in all your nakedness. To let go and release control: it's so scary and liberating! And very intense and wonderful.
F. Then you have to create the structures that allow you to let go of control.
You need to have everything in your hand. Grotowski said (when I worked with him in the summer of 1987): "I want to see a tiger, but a tiger in a cage". That we, the observers feel confident that you are in control. You know exactly what you are doing, but I want to be surprised by your power and the power that a tiger possesses.FN
I ask Fia about singing, because I know she sings too, especially french chansons and songs with a guitar - songs with a lot of text.
F. I have always been closest to my self when I have sung, but my starting point has always been to be an actor. My most important job has always been to make sure I have access to my self at all times.
For many, a great actor (and it is certainly the same for singers) is the one who can really play a role! For me, that is not enough. I think "But let go a little then, just give in a little". Because it will be so hermetically sealed and sterile when it’s too controlled.
I need to see a person who is in the full gestalt of the experience.
And that's where we get into the issue of Contact. It has to do with how the different sides of us can interact with each other and with the environment. That there is a flow between the different parts of our bodies and brains. The more it flows, the richer your expression can become and the more in touch you are. And then I also talk about the importance of an audience being able to clearly feel this is Me! It is now. This is really happening. We are now in contact. And it is then that those mental and bodily "releases" are needed.
(This connection, flow, and contact is what I am looking for in this project. The connection not only between myself and myself but between the characters of the opera.)
One of my favorite teachers at Roy Hart, Ian Magilton, frequently says "I'm trying to live the thing". Thus, not to do, but to be. To be able to move oneself and one's body to different places. This is something I have had to practice. I felt very trapped in my voice and in my body. I felt as if I were always seen in only one certain way. I was so terribly tired of it. That's how Roy Hart came to me as a great relief. They (the teachers at Roy Hart) asked about the border and what was happening on the other side of the border. "Go there!". And that border moves all the time, so suddenly you have an experience of different voices in you. Which by definition becomes organic and I think that's cool!
I, Elisabeth, suddenly think of how my voice would have sounded if it had inhabited my body in a different time, a different culture. A body with other clothes and different health. A body with other sleeping patterns. A body with other types of bodies around it. Like Anna Renzi. Where are the limits to my voice now and where will they be in a year?