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Arranger Eric Hull Eric Hull: Eric has been working in the Portland Theater for more than 30 years. He is an actor, writer, director, and teacher. He is also the director of VOX: A Spoken-Word Chorus, a group that gives choral readings of poetry. Their next performances are May 13-22, 2011. Go to voxpdx.com for more details and to hear a sample of their work. His acting classes will start up again in June. Go to PortlandActing.com for more information. His favorite stage roles include "Jamie Tyrone" in Long Day's Journey Into Night (for which he won a Drammy Award), "Warn Coucher" in House and Garden and "Gene Glimmer" in Sideman, all at ART. His other roles include "Oedipus" in Oedipus at Colonus, "Estragon" in Waiting for Godot, "Jean" in Miss Julie, "Alceste" in The Misanthrope and "Winnie the Pooh" in The House At Pooh Corner. Eric has also acted in the movies Drugstore Cowboy, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, and My Own Private Idaho.

VOX's Mission

VOX gives words to voices in new ways for ears to enjoy. The experts tell me a mission statement is supposed to be one sentence, so there it is. What I want to do is explore the way poetry sounds. I am not a musician. I am not a singer. I am a talker. I try to put the most stimulating words I can find together with the most engaging voices I can find and listen to see what comes from it. I hope that my exploration of poems is sometimes like an exploded view drawing of an engine, one in which you see all the parts and how they fit together to do what the machine needs to do.

The Vibe

VOX performs at The Waterbrook Studio, which is a big white room inside an old, ill-lit seed storehouse. You come in through the banged-up loading dock and walk down the hall and through a blackened door to an open and bright room. I hope that is what it is like to hear the poems we do. I hope our patrons can have an experience that is a surprise, one that brightens their thoughts -- even if the poems happen to be dark.


I started VOX about three years ago. I had had the idea swimming around in my head for thirty years, every since my college days. I took an oral interpretation class and in it we read poems in unison. Then I saw a performance by some of my theater friends, in which they moved to and recited a poem, dividing it up into parts. And the two experiences merged into a vague idea. Then I sang in a church choir for a few years and began to feel the layering of sound that can be accomplished in that setting. And then I got bored sitting in my basement waiting for it to stop raining so I could go back into my garden and decided to give VOX a go. Since then we have given 7 concerts, for more than 40 performances. Who knew?

Odd Fact

You know that three-tiered chess game that Mr. Spock played on Star Trek? Sometimes, I think that is what VOX is like. It's the same words we all know, with the same sounds, all coming from a human voice, but it is happening on more layers than we might expect and we have to pay special attention.

Go if you think poetry is boring; you won't be bored!