I was sitting on the floor next to a coffee table covered with a script for a new play that I was auditioning for, desperately trying to vocalize the sound of an “O” without the diphthong as they do in Ireland - because my character had an Irish accent - and the audition was in a few days - and I couldn’t speak the dialect to save my life - and my lips and teeth and tongue didn’t form that way - and who did I think I was trying to learn a new accent - and where is my career going - and why was I even born - and AAAAAHHHHHHH….(pant pant pant)
Sitting across from me, calmly witnessing my downward spiral was my dialect coach, Lynne Soffer. “Stop focusing on the dialect and play the scene,” she said. My response: (blank stare). “Play the scene as if you are already in the play, not as if it’s an audition where you are asking to be considered. Perform as if it’s a done deal. The dialect will come. Play. The. Scene.” she repeated, calm and steadfast.
Luckily, this wisdom penetrated my spiral of gloom and for the next few days I rehearsed it as if I already had the role, which helped me perform confidently at the audition. Lo and behold, I booked the job! The role ended up being one of my favorites. The play was wildly successful and performed for months around the Bay Area, and our cast was awarded a Critics Choice Award for Best Ensemble of which me, and my Irish accent, were a part.
by Clay Robeson October 1, 2020
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Be understood no matter the circumstance using clear diction