Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Voodoo That You Do

Like many of the Boston Red Sox fans who felt so rewarded for years of hounding and heckling by disbelieving rivals when the Sox trounced their enemies in 2004, Deborah Sroka was a wee bit outraged by the turn of events when Sox golden boy Johnny Damon deserted his team in search of more fullsome Yankee pastures, thumbing his nose at his loyal fans and shocking them with his turncoat behavior. In a recent interview with Mechele Cooper of the Kennebec Journal, the Augusta citizen mentioned that in addition to retiring her "18 DAMON" Maine license plate from her Monte Carlo's bumper, she has since engaged in somewhat more creative activities with some of her remaining Damon fan merchandise.
"I've turned my Johnny Damon bobblehead doll into a voodoo doll, and it's kind of working," she said. "It seems like he keeps running into (walls). Maybe it will knock some sense into him and he'll come back to the Red Sox."
She's not the only one, if a quick online search is any indication.


Emily Burnworth said...

Hi! I am an acting student about to play Sarah in Sarah Plain and Tall. I was searching for movies with good Maine accents and stumbled upon a comment of yours that led me to believe you might have some suggestions. Movies I'm considering right now are

Dolores Claiborne
In the Bedroom
Peyton Place

But if you know of any others I would love to hear them. I'm from Pennsylvania but am currently studying at BYU in Utah. So, even though I do have a different accent than most here it is difficult to hear how a Maine one is distinguished.

Thanks for reading this. I hope you can help!


Chris Jart said...

There aren't many movies or tv shows where people do an accurate Maine accent. Usually they just sound like idiots. I haven't seen those films, so I can't comment on them. But whatever you do, don't watch "Murder She Wrote." Those are some of the most laughable Maine accents I've ever heard.

Jimmy Fallon and Ben Affleck did a few sketches on Saturday Night Live where the accent and phrasing was pretty good. Actually if you copy the Boston accent, that's pretty close to a Maine accent - unless you're going for a downeast accent, and then you've got to crank it up to Tim Sample territory.

You may want to see if you can find any Tim Sample routines on the web. It would give you an idea of an extreme Maine accent.

Michelle said...

Hi Emily!
Well let's see... if you want to get an idea of an over-the-top Down East accent that you can tone down, listen to Fred Gwynn in "Pet Sematary". While he exaggerates it mightily, a subtler version of his enunciations is not far from the real thing. I'll let you know if I think of any others.

Living here, I would say it's hard for me to pick out an "average" Maine accent until you place it next to a Southern, Jersey, Indiana, etc accent for comparison. So really, I guess working from extreme examples and toning back from there may help you out.

Online, there is an interesting analysis of a Maine accent here, and a load of mp3s from Tim Sample, who is a Maine comedian whose schtick is an exaggerated Down East accent -- again, toned down, it should help you. Just don't do it verbatim!!! Gack!

Good luck! :)

Chris said...

You can also try the online archives of the Humble Farmer (Robert Skoglund) at MPBN.

Emily Burnworth said...

I can't thank you enough for responding. I worked meticulously on the dialect using dialect tapes from Jerry Blunt and I found In the Bedroom and Delores Claiborne very useful. What I've discovered about my experience is it is very easy to stereotype the dialect. I wish I could have you hear me speak with the accent and you could tell me how far off the mark I am or not.

After doing the show I had many people leave feeling slightly taken aback by how different the sounds and tonality are. But I have loved learning it and --as cheesy as it is-- feel somewhat connected to this state. :) Thanks so much!

Michelle said...

Emily-- Glad to hear it went well! Someday there will be so much connectivity that we'll all be able to see and hear any event we want to, eh?

Take care!! :)