Drama and Theatre discussion

Techniques requested - for tired voice

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message 1: by Amy (new)

Amy | 32 comments Hi Everybody:

I'm hoping someone (or many someones) on this list can offer some advice or techniques for dealing with a very tired voice. I'm currently in a production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and I find that by the time I've reached the end of Act 3 I am almost afraid that my voice will give out on me completely. I've never had any kind of vocal problems before, our house is very small and has good acoustics, so this is kind of a new problem for me. Usually I'm the person everyone is able to hear and understand, but Martha's vocal fireworks are beginning to worry me. Any advice, techniques, remedies are welcome.

Thanks in advance!

CaptKirk42 Classic Whovian (klandersen) I'm not an expert on vocals but my first two thoughts are:
1) Are you using an accent you don't normally speak with?

2) I don't mean to offend with this next one but do you smoke?
If not no problems, if so perhaps you are drying out your vocal cords.

Perhaps you can try some things that singers do (I think are intended to keep their voices flexible.) AVOID SODAS! Drink Tea.

Maybe drink only water?
Hopefully someone with better advice will answer.

message 3: by Amy (new)

Amy | 32 comments Thanks Kirk. You reminded me of some things I should have said in my original post. No accents or strange configurations of my voice are involved. I'm speaking in my normal stage voice for the most part. I'm not a smoker, so that should not be an issue. I think its just more that talking almost non-stop for 3+ hours is unusual for me. Does anyone know anything about slippery elm? Its been mentioned as something helpful.

message 4: by Erin (new)

Erin (wwwgoodreadscomgenregirl) Unfortunately, I have had to deal with this issue - to the point of completely losing my voice in a run of Antigone!

Quick solutions: throat coat tea (any drug store should have it, usually in with the herbal supplements), lots of honey poured directly down your throat before you come on stage and potato chips (grease), you can also drink a package of Jello mixed in hot water (a coffee mug full will give you a voice for a few hours).

In the long run (and to avoid nodes) you should think about working with a vocal coach - on freeing your voice, diaphragm issues etc.

Kristin Linklater's Freeing the Natural Voice is a good book to start with if you want to read more about voice.

message 5: by Amy (last edited Jan 07, 2009 11:22AM) (new)

Amy | 32 comments Thanks for ideas, Erin. I will definitely try to find the throat coat tea. I've done the honey trick. The potato chips sound great, but awful for the waistline, and the Jello - well - I just don't know about that one. I appreciate the feedback.

message 6: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Malafronte (ashmal) | 1 comments Okay, well theres a lot out there about what is and isn't good for your voice.

What seems to work best for me is not eating any dairy (chocolate too, even though its not really dairy) for around 10 days after the show and during it. Also, around a week before the show I don't have any salt. Milke and salt are both bad for your voice, so i'd skip the potato chips if I were you. And also stock up on cough drops; i like to have at least half a dozen with me at all times when I'm working on a play.
Hope I Helped!


message 7: by Amy (last edited Feb 17, 2009 07:24AM) (new)

Amy | 32 comments Ashley wrote: "Okay, well theres a lot out there about what is and isn't good for your voice.

What seems to work best for me is not eating any dairy (chocolate too, even though its not really dairy) for aroun..."

Thanks, Ashley. The show in question just closed and I survived, but just barely. Good point about the salt on potato chips. I didn't actually go that route, but I did try the throat coat tea. Its pretty nasty stuff (at least the kind I used) but it seemed to do the job. I've learned a lot from everyone. Thanks!

message 8: by Erin (new)

Erin (wwwgoodreadscomgenregirl) To clarify my much earlier response - there is what is right for your voice - no dairy, no sugar, no salt, throat coat tea, lemon, hot water, steam, vocal coaching, learning to direct your breathing, opening your voice.

And then there are things you can do when you are totally desperate and HAVE TO speak (not sing) on stage. Is JELLO good for your voice, no - but the gelatin will coat your throat and give you a voice for an hour or two. Again, desperation not health.

And you can find lots of lovely organic honey for reasonably prices in most stores.

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