Leeny Del Seamonds – Using Character Voices in Your Storytelling.

Lenny Del Seamonds Storytelling at the National Storytelling Festival Press Play to hear Leeny Del Seamonds on using character voices in your storytelling on the Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf.

Press Play to hear Leeny Del Seamonds on using character voices in your storytelling on the Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf.

Written by Leeny Del Seamonds
My journey into professional storytelling came through a stage door. Raised in a theatrical family who ‘spoke story’ (and always gestured with their hands), I eventually studied acting, improvisation, voice, dance and mime. Armed with a B.A. in Theatre/Performing Arts (minor in Directing) from Rowan University , I moved to the Big Apple to make my mark. In between off (and sometimes off-off) Broadway gigs, I took additional classes in voice, acting and mime. An actor never stops learning and growing in her craft/calling. One of the most significant things I learned along the way is the value of having a strong and varied voice and how to research and develop characters.

Lenny Del Somonds Telling Stories

As storytellers, we often portray multiple characters in the stories we tell. But we certainly don’t want all our characters to look and sound the same. It’s important to interpret, research and develop distinguished, well-defined and clear-cut story characters by approaching each story character as an actor would approach researching and developing a character in a play. And having an appropriate voice for each story character is vital. The whole body plays a part in obtaining and maintaining healthy phonation, creating diverse vocal pitches and qualities, and developing vivid, well-defined character voices. We use our bodies, hands and faces to enhance communication and often add mime, movement, gestures and vocal variety to portray believable characterizations. Determining the story character’s personality, motivation, physical characteristics, and how she moves and sounds are all part of “breathing life into story characters.” A digital recorder and mirror are extremely helpful tools for character definition and comparing and contrasting multiple characters.

As a performer, coach and director, one of my favorite things is working with storytellers/educators who desire to learn these skills. “Spark of Life: Breathing Life into Story Characters” and “Spoken Word Alive!” are two of my most sought-after workshops and intensives.

Web Site: www.LeenyDelSeamonds.com

Leeny Del Seamonds Storyteller

Short bio:

With a face and voice that launched a thousand characters, Leeny Del Seamonds, Master Story Performer™, is an internationally acclaimed performer, coach, and multi award-winning recording artist. Her animated and uplifting tales and tunes reflect her love of people and desire to embrace life to its fullest. From a prized television show to a village in Gengcun , China , to the Comix Club in NYC to the National Storytelling Festival and Cayman Islands International Storytelling Festival, Leeny Del Seamonds encourages listeners to rejoice in human and cultural diversity, inviting them to share in her Cuban-American sense of humor and joy of performing. With passion, fire and wit, Leeny’s dynamic one-woman shows and renowned workshops headline festivals, concerts and events worldwide.

4 Comments

  • By mihaela blaga, June 20, 2011 @ 4:52 am

    wonderful interview!I really liked it!As a storyteller,there is a lot to learn from it….

  • By Jim Cyr, June 28, 2011 @ 10:58 am

    Hi Eric,

    In character development, as Leeny describes it, where is the line drawn between acting and storytelling?

  • By Brother Wolf, June 28, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

    I will ask Leeny this question and you will hear her reply here on this page in a little while – in the mean while I believe that healthy storytelling has acting in it for many storytellers. Clearly the storyteller is director, playwright and actor all rolled into one with all the risks there in involved. When I see storytelling that I think is not very good I am usually seeing some one who did not really spend the time developing there acting skills and there talents at presenting the story – at being the story.

    Thanks for your question

    Brother Wolf

  • By Leeny Del Seamonds, June 29, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

    Hi Jim,
    Thanks for a great question. Storytelling is a performance art. When spoken word is brought to life, applying acting/performing skills enhances the storytelling, especially when it comes to character development and portrayal. As storytellers, we often portray multiple characters in our stories. But we don’t want all our characters to look and sound the same. It’s essential to research, interpret, and develop distinguished, well-defined and clear-cut story characters by approaching each character as an actor would approach researching and developing a character in a play. And having an appropriate voice for each character is vital.

    Personally, I don’t draw a line between acting and storytelling, BUT I strive to create believable, palpable story characters and steer clear of being over-theatrical. That’s why it’s important to keep your storytelling real and believable and motivated, while avoiding stereo-typical characterizations and overly dramatic voices.

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