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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Friday, September 12, 2008

Spurn of the Screw

Laurie has offered many useful insights regarding Turn of the Screw, but one of the most important is that my British accent sux.

This came as a shock right out of Turn of the Screw itself. In my younger days I was a Doctor Who and Monty Python nerd, preening myself on my Brit accent. I used it in public, and folks on the street asked if I was British. I played Limeys onstage, and knowledgeable directors praised my Britspeak.

Wha' Hoppen?

At some point I was old enough that the "American boy faking a foreign accent" shtick wasn't cute anymore, and I had to wean myself. Or perhaps my accent was never really that good... just a dumb kid thinking he was good at something, and a bunch of folks who either fell for it or were too polite to correct me. Laurie does not suffer from the average southerner's excess of politeness, for which I am grateful. I'd rather get constructive criticism now than on opening night.

But consider Clive James on Tony Curtis's famous "Yonder lies duh castle of my fadduh" line:

"...Here was... a living god... with an even more acute case of the stylish energy that the Americans had so much of they could hand it out virtually free to the less lucky nations... I even liked the way he said the line. I was practicing his intonation when I went home to my muddah... Tony Curtis weighed a line for its rhythm and melody, and said it as if it could be said in one way only, and no uddah."

I recently saw a classic British film called Black Narcissus, in which a convent of neurotic nuns set up shop in rural India. As a devotee of theatrical bogosity, I'm on record as enjoying the phony Indian accents the British actors in Indian roles employed, racial insensitivity aside. I think an engaging fake is as good as reality provided there's no confusion about which is which. But not everyone sees it that way,so I'd better hone my brit accents.

1 comment:

FLT3 said...

I don't recall ever having heard your Brit accent, but mine has been evaluated positively through the years (perhaps by those same overly polite people.) I have always found a received British and a genteel Southern to be only a nudge apart from each other...

Now, if I suddenly find that my Thurston Howell III is inaccurate, I may fall to despondency, by George!