Spin Into Speech & Drama
The Early Years
By Hazel Menehira FTCL, Ret. ANZDA, Ret. NZSB, Ret. NZSCA
Published by Jabiru Publishing 2016
Reviewed by Paul Brooks
Hazel Menehira lives in Queensland, but after arriving from England in 1956, she lived and worked in Whanganui for many years.
She's a journalist, but she also taught speech and drama, spent 30 years with Four Seasons Professional Theatre and founded the Rainbow Theatre Centre for Youth, which she directed for 10 years.
Her speech and drama qualifications are impeccable and she has lived and breathed theatre and all it entails for most of her life.
If anyone is qualified to write this book, it is Hazel.
Aimed at the younger practitioner and his/her teacher, Spin Into Speech & Drama is a holistic look at the preparation of a young person for the theatre or any number of professions and trades where vocal ability and communication are paramount.
From the mechanics of making sound through primary improvisation, Hazel takes the reader through exercises and games, progressing to a stage of competency in the craft.
The reader or their teacher can follow the book through chapter by chapter, building on knowledge and ability with each page.
A chapter is devoted to teaching the teacher; another on relaxation - a must when preparing for the chapter on speech sounds and clarity.
A colouring-in section provides speech exercises, and the book progresses to oral activities and improvisation.
Want to set up a Youth Theatre? Hazel explains the process and gives some valuable ideas.
Having been a student of Hazel's in my youth, and having learned from her the value of clear speech and communication, as well as a little stagecraft, I found this book fascinating and informative.
It is also fun. Anyone learning through the book is guaranteed to enjoy themselves immensely.
It is a must for the budding thespian and indispensable for anyone young enough but wise enough to realise their future needs the skills this book offers.
Easy to read and follow, Spin Into Speech & Drama should have been around years ago. Make the most of it.
Available in Whanganui from Paige's Book Gallery in Guyton St.