Actor, director Saurabh Gharipurkar of Hyderabad-based Udaan Performing Arts is in search of a voice, one that is emphatic, deeply resonant, expressive and has clear diction. “Voice is the main asset of a theatre artiste,” he shares as he gets ready to conduct an online workshop on voice, speech and diction, from May 15. During the lockdown, when Saurabh used to send Hindi poems to his friends and family members, an idea stuck him to focus on voice. He says, “Theatre workshops concentrate on acting skills. A few of my acquaintances showed interest in voice workshops.”
His first voice workshop from May 1 was an experiment with seven participants. “They were employees of software companies working from home. His classes in the morning didn’t affect their work schedule,” he shares, adding the second workshop is a result of the encouraging response to that first attempt.
To improve craft
In a one hour-fifteen-minute session, Saurabh teaches basic modules, voice training, range and stamina. Doing tongue exercises and reciting monologues (choosing lines that have most alphabets) enables them to improve their craft. He points out, “Some artistes have issues with diction. Since our workshop is in Hindi, our effort is not just to improve pronunciation but also help members find their deep voice, know where it resonates from.” He gives examples of childhood stories that melt our hearts even now. “We love stories and remember the narrator because of their voice modulation. A voice was able to create a storm or roar like a lion.”
His first session also included homework that has participants record monologues or poems. “When they played the recordings, it was easy for them to know where they could improve.” Being in a good network zone, Wi-Fi connectivity (not mobile data) and plugging in through ear phones are a few requisites for the workshop. Saurabh anticipated a few challenges for online workshop but was pleasantly surprised with the first session. He says, “I was not sure of teaching online, so I called my first workshop an experiment. But now I feel these online sessions are much better than the live sessions as there is no disturbance between the facilitator and participant.”
Calling the voice workshop, ‘a necessity to continue theatre activity’, he says, “If not for this lockdown due to COVID-19, I would have never explored a voice workshop. The way we did workshops for homemakers (O Womanaiya) and corporates during weekends, I wanted to do a session on voice but kept postponing it due to lack of time. I am glad that it is finally happening now.”
Saurabh also hopes to do a production-oriented online theatre workshop in June.
(Shabd — An online workshop on voice, speech and diction. From May 15 to May 21; 7.45 am to 9 am; For more info: 92900 13166)