Acting and Voice

War Gaming Voice Acting

The obvious application of acting with the voice would be radio plays. From an acting perspective, radio plays are similar to stage plays though the obvious difference is that the audience imagine the scene based on vocals, music and sound effects alone.

So what, in essence, is the job of an Actor?

An Actor's Job

For me, the job of an actor is simply to use text to get an emotional response from an audience.

An actor works to get underneath the skin of the text; to understand the character, their history, what motivates them, their relationship to other characters and how their current situation affects them. It’s essentially a forensic psychological analysis of the character, creating parts that are needed but not obvious from the text. This is what makes different performances intriguing to watch.

From this understanding, the actor will imaginatively bring those characteristics within their own, to create a new, completely authentic character whose every action is true to both life and the written character.

A performed character may well have certain physical characteristics or “tics” that inform the audience of the underlying psychology. Think of Aragorn in The Lord of The Rings, spending much of his time looking down as a mark of his uncertainty, until he is sure of a situation (usually confronting an enemy) when he looks directly forward. Consider the connection between Harry Potter and Voldermort indicated by their head-circling habit.

The actor will then put the character into the given circumstance of the text. The audience will “buy in”, understand and, if it’s done well, react emotionally to the performance. Job done.

Radio Plays

With Radio plays, these physical tics must be replaced with vocal characteristics. As a result, the performance is different, though hopefully the audience’s emotional reaction is no less powerful. In some, it may be far more powerful, as the production stimulates their vivid imagination to feel more connected to the situation than a remote stage might. Powerful stuff, sound!