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

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


Research-based voice coaching for former Drama at Magee graduate (BA/MARes) Emma Taylor, who acted as voice over in the film Tides, A History of Lives and Dreams Lost and Found (Some Broken) by Alessandro Negrini 2016, director of Photography OddGeir Saether (Inland Empire, David Lynch).Synopsys (by Alessandro Negrini)Is the story of a river able to reveal a sense of life imprisoned by history? Despite the end of the conflict, in Northern Ireland there is still a city with two different names: Derry, for Catholics, Londonderry for Protestants. In the middle of the city, flows the river Foyle, which separates them and at the same time act as their border: from 1969, when the most recent Northern Irish conflict started, most of the Protestants residents moved out of the area in fear of intimidation and sectarian violence.The film, narrated from the point of view of the river itself, through dreamlike sequences and archive material made by ordinary people in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s – invites us to discover its story through the voice of the river: how was this liquid wall seen, heard, and experienced by the lives of those it passed on its long run to the ocean? What could it tell us?What does it know about us? Visually moving between past and present times, the River Foyle invites us to reflect on issues that are going beyond its own borders - what is a border? Are the dreams of those who lived before the conflict different from those dreamed today? And above all, what happened to our dreams?The practice-based research on the use of voice over.The voice coaching process focussed on answering the essential question: how can we render the voice of a river? In particular, the voice of the river Foyle and all rhythmical, visual and sound elements displayed in the film, which itself mimics the pace of the river Foyle. In order to answer the research question I selected an actress (a former student) who appeared to have the natural qualities I required for the work, and I made use of voice and body techniques for the release of the actor’s creative energies that I have been experimenting with for several years with hundreds of participants to my classes and workshops, in laboratory theatre environments. The challenge was moving from theatre-base work to film. The practical work was essentially an elaboration of Stanislavskian principles of the work of the actor on the self, which were able to connect my experience with Molik-based voice and body work and voice resonators, with analysis and composition based on Eisenstein’s theories of montage.The process went through three different phases: textual analysis, training and recording.In short, the textual analysis (of the film images, of the sound – background and music - and of the script – themes and units) identified the relevant sequences in which voice could optimise its function through various operations of montage.The training focussed on enhancing abilities to vary rhythm, pitch and colour, through respiration, body of sound emission, expression, resonators, relation to mental images and different qualities of the opening of the larynx. First of all, the basic pattern that could overall produce a river-watery effect was established based on different environmental contexts (wind, light and time of the day). Then it was applied to the different situations of the film, according to the montage of specific images, general context of sequences, word meanings and sounds. The result was a binary use of voice, where a basic pattern was interwoven with specific variations of rhythm, pitch and colours. The recording was based on a frame-by-frame extremely detailed set up of a specific score-partitura; on numerous repetitions; on listening and consequent feedback and further small units recordings and montage. The sessions were recorded at the School of Creative Arts at Magee, Ulster University, using University facilities. The whole process of recording was contained within a few days in order to keep the organic unity of the voice creation produced through this unique laboratory-based process.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDerry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016



  • Film
  • Voice coaching
  • Voice over

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