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Alfred Wolfsohn

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Alfred Wolfsohn

 

photo from the Roy Hart Theatre Co
Alfred Wolfson

Alfred Wolfsohn sought to rid himself of terrible ongoing suffering through the use of voice. In the trenches of World War 1 he heard the sound of the human voice in extremis, the terrible cries of injured and dying men. After the war he suffered from post traumatic stress dis-order which, for him, manifested in the form of aural hallucinations, replaying over and over the terrified and agonised human sounds he had encountered on the battlefield. In order to free himself of the voices which accompanied him through his days and nights, he began to emulate with his own voice the sounds he heard inside. Through his self-investigation, and later with many others, he came to understand that the human voice is the expression of the self, that one is revealed in its shapes and dimensions, that our inner worlds can be made known through our voices, and that the voice can express so much more than the limitations of our own conception of our selves. Our voices express us in profound ways, and reveal our selves, our lives, our hearts, our souls, and our journeys through life. Wolfsohn believed that singing was not something separate from life or just part of it, but the very expression of life itself and considered singing to be the greatest form of love. He maintained that just as every human being has the capacity to dream so, too, do they have the capacity to sing and that as human beings we need to describe our lives through the art available to us. Wolfsohn, having heard Hitler’s voice over loudspeakers so many times, desired just one thing: "to create a 'menschliche stimme', a human voice to mend the fractures of the past." (Mary Lowenthal Felstiner)