Brad King, Theater Dialect Coach

I met Nina at the Soho Theater just before 1 pm. We’d been discussing how to bring distributed storytelling into the theater (she handles writers and production work at the theater) so she wanted to show me the space they worked in so I could get my head around what they do.

SohoTheater_2 It’s actually quite a neat place. It’s an intimate setting that seats about 150 folks, mostly minimal sets. There’s a gorgeous cafe on the first floor (you can see the flickr set for more), a rehearsal space and a production area. Plus little balcony’s where you can go see the city while taking a break.

I loved it. We talked about what kind of work we might do together next summer. There are some exciting ideas, actually, that fit in line with the book (The Cult of Me), Ball State and distributed storytelling in a city space/theater/cyber setting.

The big surprise though was that the Theater is producing a play on West Virginia Coal Miners and they were struggling mightily with the dialect. So Nina asked me to meet with the director and actors.

Laura First I had to meet an old friend, Laura, and her British husband Tim. Laura and I went to grade school together (Mr. Claussen’s class) and belonged to the Normandy Swim Club (which sounds a whole lot nicer than it was). Now she lives in Northampton, about 60 miles north of London. After a quick bite at Bar Italia (yup, my home office for this trip), Nina and I scooted over to Bankside on Union Street, just behind The Globe.

It’s a 2 person play. I found that out when I walked in to an intimate setting. Nina introduced me. They asked me a bit about the landscape of the West Virginia area. Then they had me read the script (twice) while recording me so they could reference the dialect.

Then we started talking colloquialisms, changing some of the dialect to sound less like a television version of the Appalachian dialect and more like the way I know actually people talk. I hope I did them a service. I think it went well. They promised to record the performance and send me a copy. I’ll let you know.

TweetUp_3 Finally, I met up with 7 other folks (3 American transplants) at Souk in Covent Garden for a little SXSW Tweet Up. It was great to see Fiona again. Plus Tony, Chris and Mei from The Go Game, Nina (who went to SXSW but somehow managed to miss me) and Sarbjit, who works for the UK Trade + Investment group promoting British companies around the world.

Sad that Lisa from Six to Start had to jet so quickly. We barely got to know you :(

Still it was a great, friend-filled day of writing fun and adventure. So many awesome friends (old + new) who made this one of my favorite days of the trip.

6 comments
Pablo
Pablo

A friend reminded me of one we heard at a saloon in Bandera, Texas several years ago. A man told us, "Up there Minnesota ways, they got skeeters so big they could rape a duck!---(pregnant pause)---IN FLIGHT!"

Pablo
Pablo

A friend reminded one we heard at a saloon in Bandera, Texas several years ago. A man talked about Minnesota saying, "Up there Minnesota ways, they got skeeters so big they could rape a duck!---(pregnant pause)---IN FLIGHT!"

Brad_King
Brad_King

Well we had a fun time with "I'll slap the white off you" and running through racial epithets that were more appropriate. Also talked a bit about the difference between Black Standard English and rural, KY/WV dialects (in as much as I know). The verb conjugation is different. Things of that nature. Oh and where there are pregnant pauses in different words and phrase. God damn, for instance, could appear at Gat-(pause)-Damn depending on the meaning (anger or excitement).

Pablo
Pablo

Reads like a heckuva time! Any Appalachian colloquialisms that stand out from the day?