Mark Rogers After Dinner Speaking - Impressionism
Actors and singers can, of course, be mimics,
but don’t the impressionists,
go that much further with their impersonations.
Usually involving a much wider repertoire?
than actors and singers?
Is it really any surprise
that there are such high numbers
of actors and singers
who act and sing
in their own natural voices
Maintaining purity and consistency
in their performances
with comparative ease.
But this can be directly contrasted
with the variety and flexibility demanded
from character actors and singers
in the theatre and on screen.
Whereas impressionists will often exaggerate
a specific well known individual’s
speech patterns and mannerisms.
Using satire and comedy, wherever they can.
In essence, they bring out the mimicry into micky taking.
Many impressionists do take their famous subjects
to be impersonated,
from those on television,
and can include the judge panels
of celebrity and talent contests.
Wouldn’t you agree that a lot of the judges
on television panels,
often lend themselves to be impersonated
and generally taken the rip out of.
Unfortunately, it is not just the likes of
Strictly Come Dancing judges
that like to revel in evaluating,
as the judge, Simon Cowell,
on the “Britain’s Got Talent” television show,
enjoys evaluating the contestant’s performances so much,
that he even practices his evaluations
on the birds tweeting, in the rear garden
of his London mansion private residence.
He was once overhead shouting out to the birds saying:
“OK, errrr stop, look I’ve heard enough,
Starling, you’re not a star to me, darling,
off you go.
Thrush, uummm yeah, how apt,
It’s unpleasant, it’s embarrassing
and it keeps coming back,
however, you won’t be, goodbye.
Now you do do,
you’ve got a big future.
See you next week.”
Did you also know that the television series
Strictly Come Dancing judge, Shirley Ballas,
has had formal training in public speaking?
No, I didn’t either. But she has.
Not surprisingly, Shirley Ballas
likes to evaluate speeches too,
and being so used to judging by appearances,
she apparently gets annoyed when evaluating,
if the lectern is too high,
in relation to the speaker’s overall standing height,
and therefore obstructs any of the top part of their body.
If the lectern does obstruct the speaker,
then Shirley has been known to bellow:
“You’ve got to get up on the balls of your feet”.
Often also closely followed by her stating:
“You are my queen of topics, you know that don’t you”.
What about the way politicians
also like to publicly evaluate,
and about the UK economy as a whole
may it be, boom or bust,
recession, austerity or the feel good factor.
Indeed, it wasn’t too many light years ago,
when the politician, Ken Clarke,
would regularly speak out about
“the feel good factor”.
Perhaps Ken Clarke could include this in his manifesto,
at the next general election,
Do you remember him from before,
when he used to say?
“I’d like to tell you what we’ve done,
for the feel good factor,
we’ve decreased the rate of taxation
on every bottle of whisky
available for purchase.
We’ve also increased the weekly safe drinking limit
from 21 units to 28 units
for every man in the country.
So clearly we’ve done far more
for the feel good factor
than any political party
in the history of mankind.”
Nearly as objective and profound perhaps
if contrasted with Tony Blair,
and just supposing if he was to ever make
a full comeback to frontline politics.
Supposing then if Tony Blair’s own future electioneering
is to include an extract
from his own previous famous speech
which he gave at the Fabian Society conference
when he said:
“But I say unto you,
for much of the 20th century,
left of centre governments,
have agonised over a series of false choices,
to be principled and unelectable
or electable but unprincipled,
to honour our past, or shape the future.”
And why not,
politicians can often make great “U” turns
and bends, can’t they.
With them being diverse, versatile and multi-talented.
Look at Bo Jo, Boris Johnson.
The reason why they call him Bo Joe,
is because he is incredibly good at archery.
An absolute demon,
with the crossbow
and the proverbial bow and arrow.
One day when he was playing archery for a big wager,
he scored a bull’s eye with his first arrow.
Bo Jo then felt so vulnerable
he thought he was going to be ostracised
by the other competitors,
and sent to a garden shed in Coventry.
As Bo Jo also thought he could imagine,
what David Cameron must feel like,
after a referendum.
Bo Jo wanted to get away quickly.
and have a glass of strong bow joe cider,
but he could not give the same old excuse,
that he had another tennis match to go to and play.
So he turned to everyone and shouted out:
“I’ll have to make a sharp Brexit”.
He did then rapidly depart
from that archery scene,
without even making
a drinks tost to his guests,
nor did he say a grace for the luncheon.
As always though,
it is difficult to predict
what might have been stipulated,
in a Bo Jo grace,
because even generally in the world,
the content when saying graces,
can vary enormously all round.
Comprising of a short prayer or thankful phrase,
before or after eating a meal,
and at say an ASC Charter dinner,
In Preston, they are regularly reputed
to say a grace of just:
“there’s the gravy, there’s the meat, let’s eat”.
Yet in Scotland,
they can be more sophisticated,
with a grace such as:
“Some have meat and cannot eat,
some have meat who do not want it,
but we have meat and we can eat
and so say thank Lord for it…”
Perhaps the real test of a Scottish impressionism,
is to not say the name
of the individual being impersonated.
Just one little hint though,
the: “Match of the Day” television programme.
“Aaargh, Padijo packs a powerful penalty
plays a quality ball
across the halfway line
and hammers it, into the top hand corner of the net”.
There are, of course, many other
tip top Scottish sports people,
including the tennis super star, Andy Murray,
with the terribly bad news now
about his injuries.
And it is absolutely no consolation whatsoever,
that Andy can now pursue his singing career
with songs like:
“I was born under a wandering star”.
Yes, often impressionists
don’t just hit on the spoken word,
they often include impersonating
an individual’s singing voice too.
But even when singing,
a person can still sing,
in their own local regional accent?
If you have been to an am dram musical,
and listened carefully to the chorus singing
did you sometimes hear the lyrics,
being sung with a local regional accent?
Does it matter? Do the audience object?
Or can some members of the audience,
actually hear and understand the words better,
if they are sung in dialect?
Unlike Lancaster Grand theatre
and their Footlights group,
with their BBC like, RP,
that being “received pronunciation”.
A chorus song from a musical
could be sung here at Lancaster,
like Boris Johnson,
and sound something like:
“Tar rata ra ra blow the bugle
Tar rata ra ra home we go
Ta rata rara blow the bugle
Ta rata rara rara raa….
But go to Yorkshire and the same song
can be heard as:
“Tar rata ra ra, blow t’ bugle
Tar rata ra ra home we go
Ta rata rara blow t’ bugle
Ta rata rara rara raa….
But regardless of which region
you go to in the UK
or anywhere else in the world,
as far as impressionists are concerned,
surely there is usually something
to latch onto,
to impersonate with every individual.
But why sound and act like someone else.
Mark Rogers SLSC
Are you not always happier to be yourself,
as an ASC speaker,
with your own personality
and style of speaking?
Using your own dialogue
and/or carefully personally selected quotations of others?
If so, just keep away from am dram theatre producers,
for they will destroy you.
The South Lancaster Speakers Club's video album may be viewed at https://vimeo.com/album/5744872