Dark Voices: The Genesis of Roy Hart Theatre
A NEW AND REVISED EDITION
by Noah Pikes
Published June 1st 2004 by Spring Journal, Inc.
Paperback, 174 pages
Price: 25 euros
George Steiner called him a genius. Harold Pinter saw an enormous creative intelligence, Peter Brook a unique theatre researcher. Composers Maxwell Davies, Henze, and Stockhausen were all inspired by his six octave voice. However R. D. Laing, founder of “anti-psychiatry,” refused to hop, skip, and jump for him. His name was Roy Hart. He was the inspiration for an artistic community from about fifty diverse and disaffected individuals which brought art into life and more life into art. That group became the Roy Hart Theatre and Pikes was a founding member of it.
Dark Voices shows how the current interest in voice–its origins, its potential for extension, for therapy, and personal development–began with the pioneering work of Hart and his teacher Alfred Wolfsohn. After WWI Wolfsohn seemed to suffer from “war neurosis” (now known as post-traumatic stress syndrome) and found a cure through his own voice. As a Berlin Jew, he had to escape to London in 1939 where he continued to work on his voice research. Dark Voices quotes from interviews and Wolfsohn’s own unpublished writings to present his vision of “The Voice of the Future” and its place in his ideas on human psychology.
Dark Voices tells Wolfsohn’s and Hart’s remarkable stories, their ideas, practices, and achievements, as well as of Pikes’ own path through a dark night of the soul to get to the Roy Hart group of the 60s.
This first volume of Dark Voices ends in 1975 when the group sells everything they have in London and moves into a half-ruined château in the south of France. Shortly afterwards tragedy strikes the group. A second volume will relate how they survived this tragedy and became an internationally acclaimed theatre company valued for their teaching and technique; aspects of their work which continues to the present day.