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Golden Voice Narrators

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 Kimberly Farr

Kimberly Farr

Hear Kimberly read from Anne Tyler's CLOCK DANCE

"I’ve learned to be like Sherlock Holmes, picking up the clues the writer gives you."

 Kimberly Farr
 Kimberly Farr

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Talking with Kimberly Farr

“If I hadn’t been an actor, I bet I would have become a librarian,” says Kimberly Farr. “I was the kid who wanted to read every book in the library, and I got a pretty good start on it, too!”

About eight years ago, Farr says, she was in the library looking at the audiobook section. “And I thought ‘I’d really like to do that!’”After a long career in the theater, the idea of merging her love of reading with her acting skills appealed to her, as did shifting her focus to family--“and not worrying about going to the theater each night or being on location. I just had a feeling about audiobooks –that I could do that, and that I’d love it. ”

Flash forward “50 to 60 titles” later, and it’s clear that Farr’s hunch was right. “My audio work is characterized by variety,” she says happily. “I could never resign myself to just one thing. So I’ve read books about sharks; the male brain; Condoleezza Rice’s biography; and lots of historical, popular, and literary fiction. If I’ve been typed, I guess I’d have to say that, more often than not, I get to read very smart books written by enormously talented writers.”

Farr’s recent narration of DEARIE, a biography of Julia Child, ranks among her favorites and took a full two weeks to record. “It was the longest time I’ve been in the studio on one project.” She’d narrated Child’s autobiographical MY LIFE IN FRANCE a few years ago and fell in love with Julia then. Bringing DEARIE to life, she knew, would require just a suggestion of Julia’s distinctive voice. “But not an impersonation,” she says. “Just that flavoring of Julia. It was really a key element because she’s quoted a great deal. They wanted Julia’s spirit. This was maybe the most difficult book I’ve done because of the length and emotional range of the material. But when I got to the last sentence, I knew I was going to miss working on it the next day!”

Farr’s recent narration of DEARIE, a biography of Julia Child, ranks among her favorites and took a full two weeks to record. “It was the longest time I’ve been in the studio on one project.” She’d narrated Child’s autobiographical MY LIFE IN FRANCE a few years ago and fell in love with Julia then. Bringing DEARIE to life, she knew, would require just a suggestion of Julia’s distinctive voice. “But not an impersonation,” she says. “Just that flavoring of Julia. It was really a key element because she’s quoted a great deal. They wanted Julia’s spirit. This was maybe the most difficult book I’ve done because of the length and emotional range of the material. But when I got to the last sentence, I knew I was going to miss working on it the next day!”

Farr says her preparation for each performance is always guided by the author whose work she brings to life. “Good writing has its own cadence and its own life force, and all I have to do is get out of its way and listen to it. It tells me how to read it.” She resists rehearsing passages, which she feels “kills spontaneity,” but does make extensive notes on the material. “I’ve learned to be like Sherlock Holmes, picking up the clues the writer gives you about this person. Those things I do work on, what the characters will sound like. If the writing is good, it’s all there. You just have to listen to and trust the author. It’s fun to say, ‘I am the instrument, and I am going to make your people live.’”--Jessie C. Grearson

[OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012]

©AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine

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