Tides, A History of Lives and Dreams Lost and Found (Some Broken)

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Tides: Enacting Liquid Voice in Film through Voice coaching
This practice-based research investigates the dynamic relations between voiceover and experimental film montage, applied through the coaching of Emma Taylor, who provided voiceover in the film Tides (dir. Alessandro Negrini, 2016). The film invites us to discover the story of Derry during the Northern Irish conflict from the point of view of the River Foyle, which became the liquid wall dividing the two communities.

Research question:
The research focussed on a central question: how can we communicate a liquid quality through voice in combination with other media? A secondary question investigates the specific rendering of the voice of the river in creative relation to the rhythmic, visual, sound and conceptual elements of the film.

Methodology and findings:
I experimented with voice training traditionally used in laboratory theatre environments; the challenge was to apply, on film, these theatre-based techniques. I selected and adapted Stanislavskian principles, and Grotowski-Molik-based voice and body techniques, and used them in conjunction with dialectical modes based on Eisenstein’s approach to montage, which provided the theoretical background to the practical investigation.

The result was a dialectical use of voice, whereby a repetitive pattern that reflected the flow of the river was interwoven with specific variations of rhythm, pitch and colours. By employing this approach, the voice possesses some stable 'water-like' qualities for the entire film, whilst creating variations according to the different situations. For example, in the opening of the film (4.00-5.10, example 1 in attached chart), the pitch contour of the voice ranges from high (and ‘warm’) to low (and ‘cold’) pitch and timbre), applying the use of internal images from Grotowski-Molik approaches (treating them as a score), imitating the movements of river tides and setting the pattern for the film as a whole.

Premiered at Festival Palermo Sole Luna International Film Festival, Palermo, July 2016

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDerry
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jan 2016


  • Film
  • Voice coaching
  • Voice over


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