Pozzo Diaries: the voice

      No Comments on Pozzo Diaries: the voice

Rehearsals for Godot continue, and things continue to improve. Which is how it is supposed to work, I suppose.

One thing that I’ve been struggling with a bit as Pozzo is that I don’t think he has a consistent voice. That is, the character of Pozzo is constantly taking on voices—I was about to say that he is constantly pretending, but in fact he constantly believes in whatever voice and persona he happens to have put on at the moment, immediately forgetting his sincere belief in whatever he happened to have been a moment ago.

Let me be specific, since I have to be specific in playing the part: Pozzo’s commands to Lucky are in one voice (Up! Forward! Turn!), his condescending explanations in another (That is why, with your permission…), his sly manipulations in another (you’ll never regret it), his panics in another (what have I done with that pipe). I mean, that’s generally true of people, that they sound different in different situations and moods, but I think Pozzo, as a character, really does change instantly and thoroughly. In his first few lines, he is angry, amused, peremptory and magnanimous in turns.

One of my favorite bits, a few lines after Pozzo’s entrance, has him overwhelmed with laughter at his own comment that Didi and Gogo are humans being of the same species as myself. I’m playing it hugely (as the stage directions indicate), with Pozzo doubled over with laughter, pointing at the poor fellows and gasping for breath and then instantly upright and serious and even haughty with Who is Godot?, with no transition between the emotional states at all. And I think that works, and it’s funny and in keeping with the text—not just Pozzo’s lines but the playscript as a whole, unmoored as it is in past and future. A bit later, he does the same thing after sobbing— Forget all I said, he tells them. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but you may be sure there wasn’t a word of truth in it. That, to me, is the tight core of Pozzo’s character: he doesn’t remember what he just said, but he’s sure there wasn’t a word of truth in it, even though when he was saying it, he was certain it was true.

And at least so far, I’m indicating that with a kind of accent slippage—he goes in and out of a mid-Atlantic elocution-lesson voice, a modern ‘stage American’, a natural (I hope) English received-pronunciation, and a stentorian bellow. I’m reaching up to a very high base pitch for a few fluting sentences and then rasping out a sentence from the depths, and also every now and then blasting out my commands. I think it will probably work? But it’s very different from how I usually put together a speaking role.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.