Becoming a Master Ventriloquist is within reach for everyone. But first, let’s begin by defining what Ventriloquism is.
Ventriloquism, or ventriloquy, is an act of stagecraft in which a person (a ventriloquist) changes his or her voice so that it appears that the voice is coming from elsewhere, usually a puppeteered “dummy”. The act of ventriloquism is ventriloquizing, and the ability to do so is commonly called in English the ability to “throw” one’s voice.
Ventriloquism is the art practiced by a ventriloquist, who is the one who knows how to modify their real voice – so that it seems to come from afar. The term comes from the Latin “ventriculus”, ‘the belly speaker’ because it was thought that ventriloquists used the stomach and the sound originated there.
Actually, the sound comes from the throat, which is the only vocal organ, and it is not projected in any way to nowhere, but the illusion that comes from elsewhere is created. To create this illusion, the movements of the doll come into play: For instance, its mouth moves pretending to articulate words. Something similar happens with its eyebrows, its gaze at the audience when he addresses them and the ventriloquist when he answers, its distractions when the ventriloquist speaks, its reverie when he speaks for himself. When all is combined, we are lead to believe that that little puppet is actually alive.
The more pitches of voice, forms of expression and personalities the doll shows, the greater the illusion that we are dealing with two different subjects and that the voice comes from two different places as well. Just as true about television: all sounds come from the same place, the speakers, but the illusion that each person throws his voice from his position is created.
Of course, no one truly believes that the doll speaks or it is even alive. But just like with magic tricks in which we really do not think the magician actually makes anything disappear and reappear, with puppets we are also carried away by the illusion that the doll is alive, and that the illusion is completed by the art of talking without moving the lips.
Ventriloquism (say ven-TRIL-o-kwism) is the art of talking with the tongue and not moving the mouth or face. When a skilled ventriloquist does this sitting beside a figure (or “dummy”) that has a moving mouth, it looks like the figure is talking. It works because humans use their eyes to find sound sources. When the ventriloquist is not moving his mouth but the puppet’s mouth is moving, people think they “see” the figure talking.
Mastering the Art of Ventriloquism
In our next article, we’ll learn how to talk without moving the lips. Stay tuned!