Acting in Accent: New York City Accents

Presented by: Theresa McElwee

To be held online over Zoom: 

New York City is home to one of the most linguistically diverse soundscapes in the world.

In this five week workshop, you will explore the signature sounds and intonation patterns of some of New York City’s most commonly heard accents: New York Latino English (NYLE), Metropolitan New York English, NYC African-American Vernacular English (NY AAVE), and Long Island American English. While this is by no means a comprehensive list of the varieties of New York City English, the influences listed above are among the most commonly heard varieties. These accents are not necessarily categorized according to borough, but by ethnicity, class and culture. This workshop will also include guest speakers, with first hand knowledge of the accent.

Topics explored include research and rehearsal techniques, finding freedom and flexibility, and the challenge of accessing emotional life while speaking in an unfamiliar way. All actors will work on a monologue of their choosing, as well as very short scenes. Texts will be drawn from the works of playwrights including Quiara Alegría Hudes, Dominique Morriseau, Steven Adly Guirgis, Anna Deveare Smith, and John Patrick Shanley.