Meet Becca Ballenger, Narrator in Vintage Love Stories
Blunder Woman Productions, with the help of eight talented authors and nine equally talented narrators, will be releasing a remarkable volume of short tales set before the age of the internet and cell phones. Vintage Love Stories features Becca Ballenger’s narration of Didn’t It Rain by Kathryn Burns.
We were able to chat with Becca, and we’d love for you to get to know a bit more about her, too!
Have you had any funny or interesting things happen while recording?
My home studio is in a closet in my New York City apartment. I usually record when my fiancé is at the office, so it’s just me and our cat, Franny. If I don’t make a point to place her on the upper shelves of the closet while I record, I can guarantee that there will be a paw coming in under the doorframe within a few minutes of shutting the door. Usually when she’s in the closet, she stays quiet and still, but on occasion, I’ve nearly jumped out of my chair as the door opens, as if by magic, and I see a cat face staring down at me from the shelves above my head. It’s both adorable and terrifying.
How do you get into a book/story?
The best way I’ve found to get into a book and to find the characterizations is to simply read aloud. It’s the same way I prepare for an audition (for a play, movie, or audiobook!), as it helps me discover the rhythm and tone the writing. I can get a sense of the characters’ vibe and vocal presence based on the way they talk and act. The best books make it easy to develop characterization— it’s like Prego tomato sauce, where all the ingredients are already there and all I have to do is heat them up.
How many books have you narrated and do they have a common thread or theme?
I’ve narrated around 25 audiobooks (I’ve kinda lost count!) and they’ve really run the gamut. Most of my work has been in the YA or new adult genres, as my vocal energy is very youthful. My favorite characters to bring to life are the ones whose layers are revealed over the course of a book. Building in the tension of what’s to come within the voice of each character is one of the great challenges and thrills of narration— we get to create surprises by manufacturing them vocally.
On a sort of fun note, the first book I ever narrated was a collection of romantic short stories by the British author Tanith Lee, who recently passed away. Now, I’m narrating another British romantic short story for my first project with Blunder Woman! It’s a great full circle kind of feeling.
ABOUT BECCA BALLENGER
Becca Ballenger is an actor based in New York City, and the narrator of over 25 audiobooks. Off-Broadway: Pussy Sludge (HERE Arts Center, 2017 American Playwriting Foundation Relentless Award Winner), A Midsummer Nights Dream (Masterworks, NY Times Critic’s Pick), Absolution (St. Lukes Theatre), The Hero (Metropolitan Playhouse) Regional: Steel Magnolias (Geva Theatre Center), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and White Lightning (Alabama Shakespeare Festival), Steel Magnolias and The Tempest (Idaho Shakespeare Fest), American Stare (New Jersey Rep). Extensive readings and workshops with luminary directors like Shirley Knight, Pam MacKinnon, Moritz Von Stuelpnagel, and others. Graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and Fordham University. Proud member of Actors’ Equity.