Posted April 9, 2013

Theater professor develops unique dialect for Center City stage production

Temple Associate Professor of Theater Lynne Innerst recently collaborated with directors and cast members to craft a new dialect for the play "Under the Whaleback," staged through early April at the Wilma Theater in Center City Philadelphia.

Written by British playwright Richard Bean, the play depicts one of the most dangerous occupations in the world — the merchant fisherman.

“For this play, making the dialect was just an organic part of making the story,” said Innerst. “This had to have an authentic dialect because these guys are so isolated. They see the North Sea, the Arctic, more than they see England or their families. It’s old this dialect. It’s a rough dialect.”

Cast member Pearce Bunting said that Innerst’s coaching helped the cast to better understand the characters they portrayed on stage.

“If you get some of these key sounds it draws you into the dialect more, and then the dialect itself draws you into your character more,” he said.

Innerst’s background spans the theater world, having worked as a professional actor, acting coach and teacher for more than 20 years. She said that creating the dialect was an opportunity to help the Wilma Theater while doing what she loves — teaching others about new dialects.

“I’m a big nerd,” she said. “I really love what I do. It’s what I’m here to do — to make the story clearer and to make it better.”