Monday, July 12, 2004

The Stage is Alive...

...with the Sound of Dialects!

Because "Ragtime" explores the American experience of so many different groups of characters, you have a real melting pot onstage. And that is not just a visual observation. You can hear the melting pot.

And a dialect coach is helping with that.

Just as an example, Harry Houdini is Hungarian; Tateh is Latvian and Emma Goldman is from a German province within Russia (with a strong influence from the Yiddish dialect!)

Reminds me of my grandmother, who was born in Czechoslovakia, but in a portion of it known as the Sudetanland, which was traded back and forth with Germany. So, although she did speak Czech her first tongue was German.

What is interesting about watching these three characters on stage, is that they really do sound distinct and different. It's so easy to fall into the stereotypical Eastern European Jewish sound, but investing in dialect coaching is helping this production of "Ragtime" transcend such stereotypes.

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