Sometimes the simplest texts are the most profound (and challenging)!
If you’ve ever read a book by Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), you know just how much of a vocal workout his books can be when read aloud.
Running the gamut of Seuss classics to lesser known (yet still brilliant) works, nothing less than skill-testing selections were on the menu at our get together.
Hear about five unique experiences from people who put their Dr. Seuss skills to the test at our most recent Voice Over London meeting earlier this month.
Challenges with Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss is not child’s play as several members of our local networking and professional development group discovered.
Each person chose a couple of Seuss books to review in advance and was asked to give us a taste of their interpretation on the day of the workshop.
Excerpts from Horton Hears a Who, Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?, If I Ran the Circus, Green Eggs and Ham, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas were read aloud by those present and yours truly even took a cold read spin around a Seuss I’d never encountered before.
What’s So Tricky?
Stefan Andrejicka said that he found the tongue twisters and made up words to be particularly challenging.
Fellow member Doug Jeffery acknowledged that finding the rhythm and adhering to slight modifications in the rhythm was hard. Giving emphasis to words that were italicized also kept Doug on his toes, citing “You have to find the fun in it and you can’t do Dr. Seuss cold (very well).”
After a cold spin around Green Eggs and Ham, Alice Khuu noted that keeping up with the pacing was difficult as well as phrasing the intention.
Voice pro Laura Lawton was also in attendance. She identified with what many others were saying and added that phrasing and pacing were “a wee bit of a challenge.” Laura also loved when passages involved characters, which is great for those who like character work.
Near the end of our session, the group asked if I’d also read but they didn’t let me read from any of the books I brought! Instead, Laura handed me a copy of a Dr. Seuss book I hadn’t even heard about to test my cold reading skills.
Turns out “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” is quite challenging!
I can say that while the read went well, one can’t be too confident in a cold read when it’s Seuss; you never know what is coming. Sometimes the shortest phrases or pages are the trickiest after a run. A couple of the stumbles weren’t pretty and they were generally shorter sections that followed lists.
What’s The Most Challenging Children’s Book You’ve Read Aloud?
Rhythm, rhyming and unexpected articulatory twists and turns can prove a great challenge for readers but are also a wonderful training tool for voice artists.
Comment and let me know what you’ve found challenging! Your comments and feedback will give us all some new ideas for books we can use to either warm up to or develop voice acting skills.
iStockphotoÂ®, Â©Ken Brown, USA Dr Seuss postage stamp.