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Talking with Mark Bramhall
2009—In just a few years as a narrator, Mark Bramhall recorded more than 50 audiobooks and won 12 AudioFile Earphones Awards. Bramhall, a Los Angeles-based actor, is a resident artist with the classical repertory theater A Noise Within. Bramhall says, "Receiving an Earphones is the same as receiving applause after a show."
He began paying attention to audiobooks when friends in the theater world began narrating. He says he's always been more of a talker than a listener, and even as a child, he was fascinated with the sound of his own voice. Bramhall often approaches acting through voice. He frequently develops characters by what they might sound like, or what their accent might be. "Every actor has a way of unlocking the insides of a character, and often voice is the key for me."
As Bramhall's career in audiobooks has grown, so has his interest in listening to other narrators. "I want to hear what the really fine narrators are doing." He mentions Scott Brick, Bronson Pinchot, and Simon Vance--"and all the heavyweights, too numerous to name, who have knocked my socks off."
Bramhall has had the privilege of recording many classic authors, including Wallace Stegner, Flannery O'Connor, and William Burroughs. "Audiobooks are a huge addition to the literary world because many people enjoy their literature by listening. Audiobooks have found a way to marry technological development with classics and new material, and to get it out there and capture people's attention in a way that print books by themselves no longer seem capable of doing."
Bramhall, AudioFile's 2009 pick as the Best Voice in Science Fiction & Fantasy, is currently working on recording THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES, by Eduardo Sacheri, and AMERICAN DESPERADO: My Life--From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset, by Jon Roberts and Evan Wright. When he's preparing to record fiction, he doesn't read the book too closely. "I read just enough so that I know the story and the characters, the plot points and the character traits." He does that in order to be surprised because something always emerges when he records that he didn't find in the pre-reading. "I can't tell you how much fun I've had being swept off my feet in one way or another by what an author is doing.
Even with credentials from such impressive institutions as Harvard University, The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and the American Conservatory Theater, Bramhall is grateful to audiobooks. "Despite my fancy education, I always feel vaguely illiterate, and being a narrator forces me to read lots and to discover books I might not ever have touched or looked at twice."
His feelings about audiobooks in general? "I love 'em. I love 'em partly because they're making my life happy and productive. I stay busy in the theater, but I've fallen in love with this particular art form. I enjoy it enormously."--S.J. Henschel - Oct/Nov 2011
His facility with accents and his thoughtful, understated narrations distinguish Mark Bramhall’s audiobook performances. In Lev Grossman’s THE MAGICIANS, “Bramhall sets up the delicate lines between reality and fantasy in the story of Quentin, a teenager from Brooklyn who is surprised to find himself at Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy. Sound a lot like Harry Potter? Bramhall delivers the author's irony and allusions as he portrays a maturing, fully-dimensional protagonist.” And in Arthur C. Clarke’s THE LAST THEOREM, “Bramhall’s outstanding performance is the perfect complement for the novel.” - 2009
Photo by Daniel Reichert
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