Burned Out On The Fry

Who isn’t talking about vocal fry these days? Google will give you 509,000 responses in .28 seconds and they come from journalists, speech therapists, actors, job coaches, physicians, singers, politicians…

In a Guardian newspaper article, Naomi Wolf called on young women to “give up the vocal fry and reclaim your strong female voice”: 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/24/vocal-fry-strong-female-voice

A response to that article accused Wolf of “missing the point”. Complaining about vocal fry, says Erin Riley, is just another excuse not to listen to women:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/28/naomi-wolf-misses-the-point-about-vocal-fry-its-just-an-excuse-not-to-listen-to-women

In some ways I agree with both points of view. It seems (anecdotally, at least) that we are often more critical of women’s voices than men’s. Traditional authority figures still, in 2016, try to discount the voices of young women in particular. However, standing up for the right to be heard also means resisting pressure to conform to a popular sound which could damage your voice. I hope that women, especially young women, can be true to themselves -- expressing themselves with authenticity, and saving and cherishing their precious voices. Our voices are the means with which we tell the world who we are.

This debate came up for me again in a recent visit to a Women’s Studies class at Vancouver Island University.

The students expressed differing points of view, and some admitted they had not previously been aware of vocal fry, or had never carefully considered their own voices. By the end of the discussion, they were excited to continue reflecting on these questions, and inspired by the possibility of harnessing the power of their authentic voices in their careers and their personal lives.

That Was Then, This Is Now

Here's a photo I found in a old file folder, taken when I was coaching ‘Romeo & Juliet’ at the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in 2007.

Here's a photo I found in a old file folder, taken when I was coaching ‘Romeo & Juliet’ at the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in 2007.

...and here's another one, taken recently by the genius Mark Halliday, during rehearsals at Bard on the Beach again this summer.

...and here's another one, taken recently by the genius Mark Halliday, during rehearsals at Bard on the Beach again this summer.

These pictures track a decade of my coaching life.  I'm now bespectacled, goofier, and apparently still unable to speak without the hand.

Revisiting Romeo & Juliet

At the Bard on the Beach Festival, we are on the cusp of previews for this season’s production of ‘Romeo & Juliet’. Bard last produced this play in 2007. It was a beautiful production, directed by a beloved colleague whose passion for Shakespeare’s language has always inspired me. And I confess I have a sentimental attachment to that production, as it was the first one that I worked on as a voice coach for the company.

Now, almost a decade later, we return to this story. Much has changed; we have moved into a new tent, and we now have a whole new facility at the BMO Centre. Our new cast of beautiful, talented actors are working with one of this country’s most innovative directors, and her vision for the show is thrilling. 

And, as it is with Shakespeare, there is still more to discover… there’s always more to love.