I have talked about my need to have a new voice, a new way of expression, if I want to move beyond the limits of my own life.
I was fascinated to read this transcript of Anna Deavere Smith talking about her process of speaking in voices for her performances. She speaks about how entering the voice of someone changes so much about her during those moments.
The performance they discuss is here:
The interview is full of interesting ideas, but a quote that resonated with me:
Not, I wouldn’t call it constraining it was very demanding, because [Phil Pizzo] is able to speak in paragraphs. He has that particular kind of intelligence that he can speak in a long paragraph. He speaks like he writes. You know, some people are able to write like they speak, but he speaks like he writes, so if I am not careful; where the challenge is, the performance can seem like an essay because he is able to speak that way.
I know that I have traces of that syndrome.
People who know me can read the Callan writing and hear my voice, but people who don’t know my voice often can’t imagine that that my text can ever be fluid and engaging.
Ms. Smith had to embody someone like me for a few moments, because she thought what he said was important, but she knew that she had to be careful with the performance because it could seem less than fresh and authentic in the moment, could seem like an essay.
She uses four people (or more) to help shape her performances. I have, well, me.
Me and all my paragraphs.
I may known I am a vulnerable human who needs care, but if others think I am just an essay, well, that’s a problem. “You already understand the problem, and that’s the hardest part of finding a solution.” Not for me it isn’t.
Yet, not speaking in paragraphs isn’t really me.
“The thingt makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is the thing which inevitably makes you lonely.” Lorraine Hansbury.