Welcome!

Welcome to Wren’s Audio Theater Student Showcase where you’ll enjoy films and plays for your ears performed by members of Wren’s Acting classes.

Let yourself to be transported into the world of each story and enjoy!!

wren-2229A Note from Wren:

I love acting because it is the art of behavior that teaches us who we are and why we do what we do as human beings. I encourage my students to think of themselves as “behavior detectives” searching for specific clues about what makes a character tick – fueled by curiosity that prompts questions about who this person is: What’s their background? What influences in their lives contribute to their choices and actions? What do they love, hate, fear?

When investigating and taking on these questions they can step into the character’s shoes, see the world through their eyes and they stop “performing.” The result is that their acting becomes more authentic, dynamic and memorable.

If you are interested in working with me, click here for information about upcoming classes and workshops or email me at wren@wrenross.com.

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The Art of Speaking Poetry

Wild Geese on Street“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” – Leonard Cohen

I recently brought my friend, voice-over legend Don Wescott, to speak to a group of students who’ve made voice over demos with me. Members of the group asked Don how he got started and how he practiced. He said he spoke great poems aloud.

It makes sense. Poems are shimmering expressions of honesty that provide vivid imagery and intimate connection with the reader/listener. They are often painfully beautiful because they are intimate, immediate, and truthful. A really insightful and potent poem provides you with that gratifying “aha” moment that makes you feel really alive. Awake.

I offered the Art of Speaking Poetry last February and again in May, because I wanted a verbal antidote to the daily toxicity of news and the corrosive assault on truth and decency.  I was heartened that so many people signed up and brought beautiful and personal pieces to explore. The workshop experience was profound and gratifying.  Each person dug into their soul and found their authentic voice. Amid laughter and tears, we recorded the pieces, and with the brilliant sound design of Kevin McLaughlin at Soundtrack Recording Studio, these gems were created.

I feel that I need more poetry now and I imagine I am not alone. The other day during a walk, I saw posted on a telephone pole, Mary Oliver’s gorgeous poem, “Wild Geese” with hand made illustrations (see photo). I stopped and took this photo and was grateful to the person who made this poem available to anyone passing by on their way to the pizza shop, the cleaners, the cafe or the tailor.

You know what would be terrific? POETRY GIFTING. Why not send meaningful poetry to someone who means a lot to you? A poem that provides a moment of clarity. A new fresh perspective. A personal connection of humanity. Something that nourishes the spirit.

Feel free to download and use any of of these pieces. Or record a piece of your own. I plan on offering the Art of Speaking Poetry a few times during the year. If you are interested click here for information about upcoming classes and workshops or email me at wren@wrenross.com.

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Benedicto

Cindy Newell performs Benedicto, a poem by Edward Abbey.

cindyCindy Newell is a recently retired massage and neuromuscular therapist with a passion for voice over acting. She is an organic farmer and outdoor enthusiast who loves hiking, kayaking, travel and adventure.   Cindy and her partner support environmental and wildlife conservation efforts in the US and in Costa Rica where they have property.

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Sonnet XVII

Steve McGarry performs Sonnet XVII, a poem by Pablo Neruda.

SteveMcGarrySteve McGarry is a Boston-area voice talent and singer, as well as a software engineer. One of his fondest performance memories was being part of a quartet which sang both the USA and Canada national anthems for a packed TD Boston Garden, before a Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors NBA game.

From Steve: “I first heard snippets of Pablo Neruda’s Sonnet XVII in the movie Patch Adams. Upon reading the full text, a feeling of recognition flowed through me. As if by magic, emotions and feelings deep within, to which I could never provide a worthy description, had been vividly illustrated. Under Wren’s direction, and with Kevin at the recording console, I was able to give voice to this stirring imagery. The musical selection that Wren and Kevin provided was a wonderful surprise for me. But, the best surprise was yet to come…

The recording we made was a gift for the love-of-my-life, Darlene. The look on her face, and the tears in her eyes, said more than any poem ever will. Thank you, Wren and Kevin, for the education, direction, and opportunity to share these feelings.

‘I love you because I know no other way than this.’ Indeed…”

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The Parable of the Trapeze

Christine Marie performs The Parable of the Trapeze from The Essene Book of Days by Danaan Parry.

Christine Marie 1Christine Marie is a local actress, voice actor, singer and dancer.  She spent many years performing with Reagle Players and now works as a professional voice over artist. She has spent several years lending her voice to commercials, corporate training videos and medical programs.  Christine recently recorded her first original song, Reasons.

From Christine: “When choosing my poem, I thought of the many conversations I had been having with friends regarding the changes happening in our lives, currently and the plans we were starting to make for the future. I realized we were reaching an age of transition. Aging parents, growing children, thoughts of retirement being closer than we would like to admit. I wanted to honor all of that goes along with those realizations: hope, fear, sadness and most of all strength. With Wren’s help I settled on an excerpt from the Trapeze and, as is always the case when working with the ever clever Wren, I loved every minute learning, exploring and recording this piece. I hope you enjoy the result as much as I enjoyed the process.”

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Hope is the Thing with Feathers

Drita P. Dumont performs Hope is the Thing with Feathers, a poem by Emily Dickinson.

Drita also performs in Spanish, El Dolor, a poem by Amalia Bautista.

Drita Protopapa Cropped 25 April 2017Drita P. Dumont is a multilingual Voice Over Actor with the ability to record in English, Portuguese and Spanish. She has 20 years of experience in Commercials, eLearning, Narration (Medical/Scientific/Educational), On Hold Messaging/IVR and Training Videos. Her clients include Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Florida Blue (she is the English voice for their phone messaging), Gallo Wines, Lockheed Martin, PGA Tour Latinoamerica and Western Union.

After studying Latin American culture and languages as an undergraduate at Rice University in Houston, Texas Drita went on to get a Masters in Brazilian Studies from Brown University and shortly after a second masters degree in Public Health with a focus on International and Family Health. While working in the community health field in Houston, Drita rediscovered her love of on camera acting and quickly became active with a local talent agency doing industrial and commercial work in English and Spanish. This renewed interest and creative activity is what led her to start her voice over career, 20 years ago, and helped land her 1st gig as the Portuguese speaking narrator for NASAs International Space Station video! 

When she is not recording, Drita enjoys spending time with family and friends – cooking Brazilian BBQ, sitting by the fire pit at night, taking long walks, cooking or simply watching movies on Netflix!

From Drita: “The beginning of 2017 was wrought with loss and sadness – on a personal level but also on a broader, national level. The weight of the sadness and sense of loss seemed to permeate everything. When in the darkness, we look for light. Literature and poems, in particular, provide a source of light and hope for so many. It was no different for me – “Hope is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickinson, seemed to be exactly what I needed at that moment in time. Actually, it is timeless. As I worked on the poem before and during our workshop, I become more and more connected to the words and meaning and it provided a sort of “instant” therapy to help rid me of the overwhelming sense of sadness I was experiencing at the time. Recording this poem as well as the one I recorded in Spanish, “El Dolor” by Amalia Bautista, helped me process my own pain and deep feelings of sadness and come out of the experience with more hope and a sense that “all will be well” in due time. The process of acting out the poem as a voice recording is what truly provided this path to a better place … just reading it alone could not have had the same intense impact.”

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Extending the Airport Runway

Jenn Rajala performs Extending the Airport Runway, a poem by Mary Oliver.

JennRajalaJenn Rajala has studied voice-over with Wren Ross for 8 years, and has applied that skill-set as a reader for the blind at Audio Journal Worcester.  Her primary interests in the field of voice include audiobook & documentary narration, and she has studied as a vocalist under SueEllen Kuzma.

From Jenn: “Mary Oliver is a favorite poet of mine, and her ability to communicate complex ideas with the simplest of language is a true gift.  Yet I also found that to be one of the challenges while making this recording.  I felt very tempted to try to do something to convey the meaning of the poem, but found instead that if I could trust and stay present to the language on the page, that message would come across far more clearly.”

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Pinkle Purr

Andrea O’Connell performs Pinkle Purr, a poem by A.A. Milne.

AndreaOconnellSix head shot views 002Andrea O’Connell worked in educational publishing for many years and has been a life-long singer.  The two paths merged in a publication for singers that she created and wrote for six years.  She sees voice acting as the next logical step in a life dedicated to authentic communication.  Andrea enjoys exercising her vocal colors in genres as varied as instructional narration, character dialog and humorous commercials.

From Andrea: “If one is looking for eternal truths, children’s poetry might not be the first place that comes to mind.  Yet, simple expressions are often the most effective so, why not?  In “Pinkle Purr” A.A. Milne takes only a few words to set a domestic scene everyone can recognize and relate to.  A tiny kitten arrives and its entire existence is its mother.  Everything it knows about the world comes from her and it learns by emulating her.  As the kitten grows, it ventures farther and farther from Mother’s safe, small world.  Wren helped me to experience the warmth and rightness of the journey as the now-confident cat assumes its supremacy in the natural order of things and demonstrates the evolving, yet enduring nature of love.” 

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Dawn

Nancy Hilliard performs Dawn, a poem by William Carlos Williams.

NancyHilliardHairdown2aNancy Hilliard, educator actor, has participated in community theater in the Boston and Worcester areas, striving to give dignity and voice to all her characters. In her work as a tutor with children and adults, the goal is always to enable confident communication. Emotional, behavioral, and intellectual disability-difference can create low expectations among listeners, especially when verbal ability is diminished. Using art, sign language, drama and listening, we explore learning strengths and share our thoughts in story, game, and conversation.

From Nancy: “William Carlos Williams is a favorite poet, simplicity and ambiguity in his observation of the scenes around him. A recent witness of an awesome sunrise, so hazy at the seacoast that I could watch the huge golden globe rise above the horizon, inspired a search for sunrise poetry. Williams’ Dawn described the beauty and collaboration, but stunned with doubts that the Sun was aware of the voices surrounding and supporting ‘his’ ability and achievement. Are those of us ‘abled’ aware and respectful of those struggling to communicate with us?”

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Alone

Susan Giusto performs Alone, a poem by Edgar Allan Poe.

SMGiusto-AdventurerPhotoSusan Giusto started experimenting with voice acting at an early age performing and writing poems and radio plays. She has also produced sound effects and music scores for live theater. Recently Susan lends her voice to a myriad of projects from training videos and commercial spots to audio books and recently several character voices for animated short student films. She continues to keep her craft sharp by taking classes and workshops with Wren.  Susan can be contacted by thevoicegypsy@gmail.com and at https://voice123.com/profiles/susangiusto/.

From Susan: “I recently had a chance to visit Edgar Allen Poe’s home in New York City and was struck by the surrounding in which he was writing at that time. This was the house in which his beloved wife lost her battle with tuberculosis. The poem ‘Alone’ quietly acknowledges the struggles of loneliness and the twisted ways that one is really never alone with ones thoughts. Many times when I read Edgar Allen Poe I melt into my soul and feel how his life allowed him to capture such glorious visions in his words. Bringing his words to life was my gift to honor such a wonderful writer.”

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To the Western World

Tim Corbett performs To the Western World, a poem by Louis Simpson.

tim-corbettTim Corbett has been involved in performing, acting and voice-over work for several years.  Since 2013, he has been portraying historical characters at Boston’s Old State House for visitors from all over the world.  In these roles, he opens a window into life in the 1760’s, when Boston was a restive colonial capital of the British Empire, and the town’s inhabitants were subjects of young King George III.  He has performed in local community theatre, appearing as Howie Newsome in Theatre to Go’s production of Our Town in Melrose, MA.  Also, Tim recently performed the role of Chief Inspector in the Facing Exclusion program presented at the Paramount Theatre in Boston, MA.

Before coming to the performing arts, Tim worked with large global clients as a professional in the Information Industry.

From Tim: “I was already aware of Louis Simpson’s work when I came across To the Western World.  I was stunned by his ability to capture, in only three compact stanzas, the history-changing achievements, personal moments, and grinding hardship of the explorers and settlers who first came to America.  In performing this work, my goal was to offer the listener a chance to share that sensation.”

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The Road Not Taken

Valerie Smith performs The Road Not Taken, a poem by Robert Frost.

ValerieStevensValerie is new to voiceover and thoroughly enjoying the journey so far. “Observing people has always fascinated me. Getting to know characters and backstories helps me to do my best to honor the characters and the intention of the writers.”

In addition to her acupuncture practice of 20 years she has taught Chinese medicine for 18 years.

From Valerie: “Robert Frost has always been a favorite of mine, particularly this poem. Sometimes the less trodden road, although more challenging, ends up being the most gratifying.”

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The Power of the Spoken Word

Valerie Smith performs The Power of the Spoken Word, a speech delivered by Helen Keller to the National Institute of Arts and Letters at New York, New York.

ValerieStevensValerie is new to voiceover and thoroughly enjoying the journey so far. “Observing people has always fascinated me. Getting to know characters and backstories helps me to do my best to honor the characters and the intention of the writers.”

In addition to her acupuncture practice of 20 years she has taught Chinese medicine for 18 years.

From Valerie: “What Helen Keller wrote in 1947, still powerfully resonates in 2017. Her speech gave me chills the moment I read it. Her message that words have meaning and must be spoken with integrity is something we seldom seem to see, but still strive for in today’s world.”

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A Stone Upon the Cairn

Susan Giusto performs A Stone Upon the Cairn, a poem she wrote.

SMGiusto-AdventurerPhotoSusan Giusto started experimenting with voice acting at an early age performing and writing poems and radio plays. She has also produced sound effects and music scores for live theater. Recently Susan lends her voice to a myriad of projects from training videos and commercial spots to audio books and recently several character voices for animated short student films. She continues to keep her craft sharp by taking classes and workshops with Wren.  Susan can be contacted by thevoicegypsy@gmail.com and at https://voice123.com/profiles/susangiusto/.

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