“I am my audience, my admirer and my critic.” Author Robert Wexler and narrator Robert Keiper on narration, theatre, and literature

Usually here in the Iambikopolis, it’s our narrators asking questions of the authors whose books they’ve performed. In a table-turning twist best described by your humble bloghostess as “thrilling” (honestly), Robert Freeman Wexler, author of The Painting and the City, sends questions to narrator and actor Robert Keiper. The full interview can be found at Robert Wexler’s internet home, The Laconic Writer.

Don’t forget to enter to win one of 3 copies of The Painting and the City at the end of this post! Or if you just can’t wait, this and all our titles can be had at a 25% discount below by entering the code listen-more between now and the end of January 2012.

An excerpt from the interview:

LC: How does working as a voice artist on audio books differ from performing a play on stage?
RK: The immediacy of feedback on stage is galvanizing, a creative condition when all my resources are simply there without effort. In film work there’s always crew, director and other actors to bring about that same “heightened state.”

Narration is a solitary effort as, I’m sure, is yours. The opening of resource paths requires more and more consistent effort. I am my audience, my admirer and my critic.

But the rewards are delightful and amazingly identical, so long as approbation doesn’t creep in. It’s never about me, it’s always and only about the story.

Laconic Central: I’m pretty thrilled that someone did an audiobook of my writing, and I love how it came out. But I have to say I was pretty apprehensive at first. It was very strange hearing someone else read my words. How did voicing The Painting and the City compare with other narrations that you’ve done?

Robert Keiper: Even though I’d done several books prior to yours, I was still fairly new to this performing art as I started The Painting and The City. So I was making lots of mistakes, backing and filling, getting disgusted with myself and swearing I’d never finish the darned thing. Then I’d come to one of the interesting plot twists and get hooked all over again. I particularly remember the first time the puppet appears in the story, and the galvanizing effect that had on me. I was delighted with the character and my choice for a voice for him—but I knew he would appear again later, so I made a short recording of his voice and kept it handy as a reminder when needed again. Consistent character voices are as fundamental to the story as any other character traits, but when their appearances are far apart you have to take special care.

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One thought on ““I am my audience, my admirer and my critic.” Author Robert Wexler and narrator Robert Keiper on narration, theatre, and literature

  1. As a translator, occasional writer, and aspiring audio narrator, I think this is the coolest thing ever! Though I think it’s a tight contest for which one reads a book more closely, the translator or the narrator.

    I’d love to see Iambik hook up with some of the indie presses focused on translated literature, like Open Letter, Archipelago, Dalkey Archive, Europa—or the one I’m part of (it’s a coop), Calypso Editions.

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