Search blog:
Subscribe to blog posts:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I speak like Cate Blanchett

I've been in the US a while now, and the incidence of accent foibles has decreased over time, but every now and then I still have a good one.

Yesterday I auditioned for a Shakespeare show at a theater where I've never worked. I was late, as usual, but they were running behind anyway, so there wasn't much chitchat before I began. I ran through the first side and stopped for comment. The director and his assistant both gave me a funny look.

"Um ... you ... You've obviously done a lot of vocal work. But you're using RP."

I stared at them blankly wondering if RP was some crazy American vocal technique.

"Received Pronunciation. Can you do it in your normal accent?"

My god. My god! They thought I was one of those annoying wanker Americans who pretend they're British when they do Shakespeare. I hate those actors; I couldn't believe they assumed I was one of them! I wanted to run out of the room screaming and take a shower.

"I'm Australian." I said it slowly in an effort to hide my creeping outrage.

Blank stare again, this time from both of them.

"This IS my normal accent."

"You're Australian?"

"Yes, but I don't sound like Steve Irwin. I sound more like Cate Blanchett." I couldn't believe I was having this conversation.

"Oh, uh, well, can you just sound less ... polished? Just be yourself."

So I faked having a lazy Australian accent for Shakespeare. I should have just done it in an American accent. Or, as Sean suggested when he heard the story, I should have gone balls to the wall and done the entire thing sounding exactly like Paul Hogan.

Note to self: always, always find a way to slip my Australian heritage into pre-audition chitchat, no matter how short or clumsy. "It's hot today, isn't it? Oh, but not so hot as it is back home in the outback with kangaroos and shrimp on the barbie. I said as much to my mate Judy Davis when I phoned home to the Land Down Under last weekend." Something like that.
Post a Comment