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 Post subject: How to act like Death?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:19 pm 
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In my duo "The Book Thief" I play Death. :twisted:
But I need help making Death be a sinister character but not come across as really evil.
If anyone could give me some ideas on his voice that would be great.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:04 pm 
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One possible direction:

Imagine a professional and very slightly psychopathic [in the clinical sense, not the Hollywood sense] CEO giving a presentation. He's professional and seems to care about people, but you also get the feeling he could destroy your career without a flicker of emotion if he decided you were getting in his way.

Body: Very straight posture - precise body angles. Hands in a power triangle. Movement very planned and measured - stillness broken up by smooth, calm movements that go precisely where they need to go without wasting motion. (He doesn't waste energy or emotion because he's invincible and knows he doesn't have to.) Perhaps a slight tendency to move fingers independently, in a slightly unnatural way.

Face: Tends to tilt head to the side, chin slightly down, and look up at the judges. Mixture of genuine empathy and cold detachment (think warm smiles vs. cold mouth-only smiles); you want him to have obvious emotions, but be able to switch them off in a split second.

Speech: Calm. Low register. On the quiet side; communicates emotion/tension more through tone and diction that volume. Very precise diction. Hints of a British accent, but not actually British (you can get a lot of this by just pronouncing words carefully). Sentences tend to slow down and drop slightly in pitch at the end; not a lot of variation in pitch otherwise. Maybe some verbal tics, like a tendency for sentences to trail off into an audible exhale or hiss.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:20 pm 
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Thanks, I'll try it.

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Jonah Barnes, NCFCA Region IX

2014-2015 | Barnes/Spence
2015-2016 | Amedick/Barnes (2.0)
2016-2017 | Amedick/Barnes
2017-2018 | Amedick/Barnes


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:31 pm 
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Taryn Murphy is doing this in STOA as an Open Interpretation, and she does Death quite well by making him more of a slightly sinister British Narrator. The voice she uses is somewhat like a condescending older brother who is about to turn into a psychopath (but right before he snaps). It's worked pretty well for her since she's been in finals every tournament and Death is a very important character in the interp.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:31 pm 
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Jonah.a.barnes wrote:
In my duo "The Book Thief" I play Death. :twisted:
But I need help making Death be a sinister character but not come across as really evil.
If anyone could give me some ideas on his voice that would be great.

Try to find excerpts of the film The Seventh Seal. A personification of Death is one of the main characters. The performance is stoic and indifferent. Not sure how this would translate to Death's portrayal in the Book Thief, but it's something to think about at least.

Here's a clip from the movie (Death is on the left, note his cold indifference)

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