A Broadway Actress Tells You How To Get Your Lost Voice Back

posted in: Art, Day In The Life, Tips, Work 3
'4′33″' is a three-movement composition by experimental composer John Cage. Composed in 1952, for any instrument or combination of instruments, the score instructs the performer(s) not to play their instrument(s) during the entire duration of the piece.
In 1952, experimental composer John Cage composed this three-movement piece called 4’33”. Written for any instrument or combination of instruments, the score instructs the performer(s) not to play their instrument(s). At all. It’s just silence for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Nice.

My voice has skipped town. Three days, now. No word from her. Very concerned.

In her stead, this bizarre, rather spooky sound is coming from my throat and it alternates between a barely audible squeak and an alarming baritone. The baritone only happens when I decide I absolutely must be heard and the only way that will happen is if I drop my voice down to my chest, furrow my brow a bit, and push sound out with a full-on bark. I was in the airport yesterday and did this while on a phone meeting and I visibly frightened three grown men who were reading newspapers at Gate A9. They all jumped a foot and looked at me like, “What in God’s name is wrong with that woman?!

It’s a cold, brother.

Which I don’t get very often! I’ve been smote by far worse maladies in life and thus I like to think I’ve been given a pass on the other stuff, the little stuff, like colds and the flu. But that’s silly, and the proof is in the mucus. The real problem is that I am in Oklahoma today and a whole lot of people are coming to hear me speak. I know, right? THE IRONY. I’m speaking alongside my mom on this trip and she can help translate any interpretive dances I need to do to communicate with the people, but seriously: I need to be able to talk. Really need that talking thing. So I sent a high-priority email to my friend Kristina The Actress. She’s been onstage her whole life and she’s done Broadway and all that, so she knows a thing or two about losing one’s, er, moneymaker.

“Kristina,” I feverishly typed. “I’m [REDACTED]. My voice. Gone. Totally. Lecture tomorrow. HELP ME.”

This morning, my voice is a 1,000 better and it has 90% to do with her sage wisdom. (The other 10% of improvement can be attributed to time and rest.) So mark the following practical advice in your mind, fair reader, and when you lose your voice at a bad time — isn’t it always? — you can say, “Well, a Broadway actress told me once…”

“Sweets: able to help…speaking to missing voice (which I totally thought was a metaphor at first): If there is mucus, Broadway agrees you must take Mucinex. Then chew/suck raw ginger and also put it in your tea. Then there’s a brand of cough drops called “Fisherman’s Friend.” Sucrets for pain. And then some doctor comes and injects steroids in your throat…I love you.”

See what I mean? That’s a serious assault from all corners and it worked for me, folks. I didn’t have the steroids in my throat (ew) but it’s good to know about the big guns. Thank you, Kristina. You are beautiful in many ways and lots of people love you, but now large crowds of quilters in Oklahoma will love you and when you woke up yesterday morning I bet you didn’t see that comin’.

3 Responses

  1. Andres
    | Reply

    I’ve lost my voice once (cold + long night talking with new friends) and I wish I had know this back then.

  2. KathyMac
    | Reply

    What a blessing you are! I am supposed to sing a Christmas special in church and have had what you’ve had for several days. I will take your advice on yet another thing.

  3. Laura @ Prairie Sewn Studios
    | Reply

    I love that you had a Broadway actress friend to text in a crisis like this. Happy your voice is back!

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