Review of “The Voice Bank” – – One Woman’s Fight to Keep Her Voice
A realistic performance
Over the years, we’ve all seen Hollywood actors attempting to portray ALS. In my opinion, no one seems to get it right. But Andrea Caban’s excellent performance in The Voice Bank, resonated with me. From embodying the anguish of being diagnosed with ALS, to frustrations with the medical system, to the resolve to retain a sense of self — she nailed it!
Don’t let the title fool you. This is not about the voice-recording service known as “voice-banking.” Rather, what Andrea offers is a real bank, or a “saving” of our real voice. Watching the video also gives us a sneak peek into Andrea’s unique and innovative teaching style and technique.
Synopsis of the play
In 2014, Terry Fiset, a retired attorney, experienced trouble speaking and sought the help of a voice, speech, and accent specialist. She met with Andrea Caban, head of voice and speech at the Department of Theatre Arts at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).
Andrea’s initial suggestions for Terry to adjust her breathing, posture, and articulation helped, but Terry soon learned that the cause of her symptoms was due to ALS.
Andrea had no prior experience working with ALS patients, but her intuition led her to teach Terry to speak with a modified accent. It sounded different from Terry’s original voice, did not seem to strain her throat muscles and most importantly, Terry could be understood by others.
In 2015, inspired by Terry’s story, Andrea created “The Voice Bank,” a one-woman show that shares highlights of their sessions together and Terry’s fight to keep speaking.
How you can watch it
Thanks to the LS Association Golden West Chapter and CSULB’s Theatre Arts Department at The Studio Theatre, a special benefit performance of “The Voice Bank” was live-streamed and made available on YouTube. The full 1-1/2 hour performance is definitely worth your time!
I give it a “thumbs up.” What did YOU think of the play, or Andrea’s performance?
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