The Impassioned Speaker

An impassioned speech in Glasgow by Gordon Brown gave the No vote a boost the day before the referendum.  Although Glasgow still voted for independence – no surprise there, many re-thought the way they were going to vote.  As one voter said,
“He was a shite prime minister, but that was a pretty good speech.”
Listening to his voice:  full, rich and emotionally charged, you have to wonder if this is the voice of the only man who could gain independence for Scotland.  Now Salmond’s gone – there is a leadership hole – but even in politician’s terms this may one step too far in the power game.
Gordon Brown’s father was a Presbyterian Minister and he must have heard his father preach when he was a boy.  Certainly the fervour was present in this referendum speech.  Many great speakers and actors throughout our history have grown up listening to their father or a close relative speaking from a pulpit.  Fervour from the pulpit is now considered by many to be in bad taste and a cover for a lack of conviction –  fervour from leaders and motivational speakers is all the rage.

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown

David Mamet

The recent convert David Mamet, has written some good work about acting.   He’s come out with views of late that have estranged him from many artists.   Perhaps he should write a play about his new views rather than a book?  Good playwrights like good speech writers know how to work an audience.  A joy of studying audience/performance communication is looking at how (good) playwrights wire in that subliminal connection.  This is what David Mamet says:

Common Sense for the Actor

“The Actor is onstage to communicate the play to the audience.  That is the beginning and the end of his and her jobs.  To do so the actor needs a strong voice, superb diction, a supple, well-proportioned body and a rudimentary understanding of the play.

The actor does not need to “become” the character.  The phrase, in fact, has no meaning.  There is no character.  There are only lines upon a page.  The audience sees an illusion of a character upon the stage.

The actor is as free of the necessity of “feeling” as the magician is free of the necessity of actually summoning supernormal powers.  The magician creates an illusion in the mind of the audience.  So does the actor.

David Mamet
David Mamet