Space, shape and the Physio-Vocal instrument

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This article discusses ways in which the Physio-Vocal element of the performer can be trained through Laban’s Shape Qualities and Effort Factors such as Weight, Space, Flow and Time using architecture as a major influence in both training and performance. How do we train performers in order for them to respond genuinely, and organically with (and to) the space around them? At times, a disconnection between voice and body (the Physio-Vocal) and space can be evident. The process should be instigated from the physical space using spatial and architectural language. Architecture and spatial relationships have long played an important role in actor training. Rudolf von Laban studied architecture, and developed an interest in the relationships between the body and the surrounding space. Elements such as Architecture, Spatial Relationships and Topography from Viewpoints also stem from this notion. Methods in which voice can integrate seamlessly with these Factors will be discussed, using it as a framework for voice, speech and text work. Voice and body are often practised separately; however, the language used in Laban Movement Analysis can be applied to voice work, and proves to be an effective way to consolidate the Physio-Vocal instrument. Persona Collective’s physically and vocally demanding production of Patricia Cornelius’s Savages, a dangerous, new Australian play examining the pack mentality of men, was performed at a car park as part of Tasmania’s Junction Arts Festival in 2014. For the actors to be both a part of and from the public space, a rigorous training method was developed. A combination of Laban Movement Analysis was used alongside the Space elements borrowed from Overlie’s Viewpoints in order to seamlessly merge bodies with space. A vocal texture was also developed using movement language. The result was a production that seamlessly merged architecture, body and voice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2017


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