Acting in a fishbowl

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The Silvano Toti Globe Theatre – Villa Borghese (Rome)

I knew that the first time I would go back to a theatre in Italy after the London experience I shouldn’t make comparisons. As far as the stage experience is concerned, compare Rome to London is like pretending to have the same gastronomic experience in the restaurant round the corner and in a three starred Michelin. Therefore yesterday night I was in Rome’s “Globe” ready to enjoy the show.

As the lights went down (yes, that’s one of the differences with the English Globe, in the Roman one lights go down and groundlings do not stand but sit on the floor) and the first actor appeared I said to myself “oh, no”. There it was, glued on his face… the microphone. I don’t know why here in Italy we must suffer most of times on stage actors inside a fishbowl, whether if it is because they lack the tecnique to reach the audience with their lungs (I doubt it) or if audiences pretend the tv-like audio (most likely). For me it is like watching a film dubbed, and I find it really, really, irritating. I will go back in August to see King Lear, also microphoned, according to these images. I sincerely hope that times of actors playing in a fishbowl will be over soon.

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4 thoughts on “Acting in a fishbowl

  1. I often see the microphones here, especially in our big theaters, or if it is a musical. It is interesting to see who uses the mikes and when. I’m not sure how actors learn to reach the back rows of a large hall without amplification (and without sounding like they are shouting), but it’s very impressive.

    1. I understand the use of microphones in a musical. when I saw last winter the beautiful Alesio Boni I was so upset not to hear his voice coming from his mouth, therefore when I saw the two plays at London in May with the actors voices reaching me even in the heights of National Theatre I was astounded. I think that it’s a technique they develope through the years, indeed the clearest voice of them all was Jonathan Pryce’s. As you say, something impressive.

      1. Yes, I would like to see Pryce in performance. And I would like to ask a Certain Actor how he accomplishes it–even to sound like he’s talking softly but have it reach the back…

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