The Things You Kiss Goodbye AudioFile Best of 2014 Young Adult
Award-winning audiobook narrator Lauren Fortgang is a skilled and talented actress on the stage and in the recording booth. She says her training as an actress gives her the tools to deliver the best performance possible. “I think most professional narrators have a theatrical background and theater training of some sort--certainly most that I know do.” Lauren says her training has given her the skills to channel a character’s emotions and make them her own. “The ultimate goal for any performer is to be so connected to the piece that you’re being as truthful with it as possible.”
While in the recording booth, she feels a physical connection to the material, just as if she were onstage. “You have body awareness in the recording space--but because you have a microphone that is especially sensitive, your physical movement is constrained. But in terms of connecting to the material in a physical way, there’s still shoulder-slumping for a character--or manipulating your mouth in a certain way to better feel what the character is feeling.”
And, not surprisingly, she adds, “I’ve been known to weep.” She says that even though she’s “prepped” a book and she knows what’s coming, it’s hard not to feel that emotion during the performance. “I think it catches me off-guard.” One time she became so present in a scene that she had to stop recording because she was sobbing.
The acting and voice-over classes continue for Lauren, even though she’s had success in just about everything she’s tried. It’s all about “where you’re connecting personally into the story.” While not a trained “method” actor, she says, “Recording audiobooks has been very helpful in stripping away so much in terms of embodying a character. Instead of being on a stage or being with other people, you get down to an essential element of storytelling.”
And finally, as far as training goes, she’s tried a number of techniques that are as ingrained in her mind as the development of muscle memory in an athlete. “You forget the training and use the tools to make the piece real,” she says. “If you do that, you’ve done your job for the author and for the listener.”--Randy O’Brien[OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2016]
© AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine
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