Once Upon a Timeless Tale Collection AudioFile Best of 2015 Children
Miriam Margolyes says, "Recording an audiobook and playing one character after another pushes the envelope of your talent." She values audiobook work very highly. The compensation can't compare to work in films or television, but "the satisfaction of doing it and the exploration that audio recording offers to your skills" make audiobooks worth it. Miriam has recorded titles by several nineteenth-century authors, notably Dickens, an author whom Miriam presents with a personal passion. She created and starred in the stage monologue of DICKENS'S WOMEN , produced in both London and Los Angeles. "Classic fiction,"" Miriam says, "demands a certain intellectual adroitness." Reading skill is essential to capture the convoluted sentence structure and to anticipate a sense of successive paragraphs and scenes. Recently, Miriam has also recorded contemporary work, including the Holocaust memoir EDITH'S BOOK and THE BELL by Iris Murdoch.
Miriam sees her role "as a filter for the writer's vision, not the original creative source." As she prepares the text, Miriam views the words as clues. She pays close attention to the idiosyncrasies of word order and the use of an unusual word. Accuracy and attention to these details are key. Miriam talks about keeping the energy level flowing throughout a piece and not getting bogged down or distracted with characterization. "Whenever you read, you are taking a position. You can't read in a disinterested fashion; you must be totally committed to the moment."
Brought up in Oxford, England, Miriam recalls the many refugees there after WWII and notes, "My ear was attuned to the diversity of languages." Her active film career takes her all over the world. She's recently had roles as a German, an Italian, an American, and she plays an Eastern European in the Hungarian film SUNSHINE with Ralph Fiennes. We'd like to hear Miriam's performances more often, but, much to her (and our) dismay, American publishers have not picked up on her interest in audiobooks and her far-reaching skills with accents and characters. "I get many requests to do books in England, but nothing here. Perhaps no one thinks I can do Americans," she says, sounding just like the quintessential Californian.--[December 2000]
December 2007: Miriam said to the Queen in Buckingham Palace, "I am the best reader of stories in the world." See it to believe it, captured on YouTube at www.dickenswomen.com/media.html She's heading to Broadway this winter in Wicked.
December 2006: Alas, we haven't been hearing this Golden Voice, except on the stage. Miriam toured as Miss Prism in Sir Peter Hall's production of "The Importance of Being Earnest." And she is currently in the West End production of "Wicked." Onscreen, listen for her golden voice in the animated "Flushed Away."
December 2005: Along with keeping house for Judi Dench and Maggie Smith in the lovely film "Ladies in Lavender", Miriam recorded Claire Rayner's biography HOW DID I GET HERE FROM THERE? and THE WORST WITCH SAVES THE DAY by Jill Murphy. In 2006, Miriam appears in "The Dukes", a heist movie set to 50's rock and roll, and her voice will be heard in The Water Warriors, an animated sci-fi comedy.
December 2004: Not too much by way of audiobooks from Miriam this year, but listeners can see her on the big screen in "Being Julia," "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers," and "Ladies in Lavender" with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.
December 2003: Miriam's performance of TROY by Adèle Geras is an under-appreciated gem. We think it's one of the finest children's audiobooks of the year, and it also won the 2003 Audie for Children's Titles Ages 8+. Miriam's hectic schedule of films has kept her from many recordings, though she's part of several BBC audio dramas, including All's Well That Ends Well.
December 2002: Miriam's proximity to Harry Potter (she plays Professor Sprout in current and upcoming films) has given her magical globetrotting powers. Miriam told us from South Africa that she fits audiobook projects such as Beryl Bainbridge's ACCORDING TO QUEENEY and THE ROAD TO SOMEWHERE around the Potter films and a BBC TV program on Tuscan houses.
December 2001: Miriam's year has been the usual combination of stage--as the Nurse in Peter Hall's Los Angeles production of ROMEO AND JULIET; films--as the temperamental Hungarian housekeeper in CATS & DOG; and audiobooks-- EXTRA VIRGIN by Annie Harris, ACCORDING TO QUEENEY by Beryl Bainbridge, and REBECCA'S TALE by Sally Beauman. Miriam tells us that she always tries to find a personal connection to a book she's assigned to read. Her love of Italy created a link in her recent reading of EXTRA VIRGIN . Coming up, Miriam looks forward to her role in the second Harry Potter movie, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets", in which she plays Professor Sprout, mistress of Herbology. We'll look forward to hearing Miriam's great range of talents in more audiobooks.
Photo courtesy of the narrator
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