ENTERTAINING

If the student has faithfully followed the preceding instructions he should by this time have attained considerable facility in the imitation of near articulate sounds as employed with figures, and have developed considerable capacity for creating the distant sounds that form the art to which was originally applied the term Ven¬triloquism. In fact, he should now be able not only to imitate near voices in caricature, but also to " throw " his voice into a box or closet, to the room above and the cellar below, and to cause it to appear gradually to ascend from a level or the basement to the floor or roof above (by simply reversing the method given for making it seem to descend), and even to approach from a distant point on a level until it sounds close at hand, or recede until it is heard no more.
He is therefore now ready to amalgamate these accomplishments to produce a natural effect, or what is a humorous travesty of nature, for enter¬tainment purposes. The utterance of sounds with an unmoved countenance is one step toward this end, and the requisite subtlety and device neces¬sary to ventriloquial acting, is again another, as is also the proper selection of a ventriloquial vocabulary.
The importance of a right vocabulary can easily be seen by trying to say without moving the lips a sentence containing a number of " p's " or " b's " like " the persistent pertinacity of the priesthood," and though you try for a century the effort will not be fully satisfactory. If, on the other hand, you attempt such phrases as "Hullo, down there," "Yes, I'm here," "Good¬night to you," you will find no difficulty. Avoid, therefore, as much as possible those words in which occur labial sounds, or letters which can only properly be pronounced by aid of the lips. By substituting for such sentences as trouble you those which may be pronounced without aid of the lips, you have the key to the prevention of any difficulty of this kind which you may expe-rience. Arrange such sentences as do not require labial pronunciation and practice these before a mirror until yon can employ ventriloquism, either" Near" or " Distant" without change of coun¬tenance.

A nice little point of procedure which may be taken advantage of to help conceal the limita¬tions of the art may be mentioned here, to wit: when you speak in your natural voice, employ, if you can without rendering your speech stilted and absurd, words that are impracticable in ven¬triloquism; also make your utterance as far for¬ward in the mouth as possible, and exaggerate a little the unrestrained motion of your lips. When you cease to speak naturally, your countenance changes as if you had really ceased, although you are still sustaining a conversation. After a time, when you drop the natural voice the face changes by habit from animation to repose, and the vocal organs mechanically adjust themselves for the effect required.

 


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