Thursday, February 5, 2009

Take a voice lesson with Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda, now in rehearsal for a short-run Broadway play, has started a blog about the experience--and, in addition to reading about rehearsals and seeing photos of her backstage life, you can now watch a short video of Fonda getting a voice lesson from Kate Wilson, who's on the Julliard School faculty. Much of the discussion concerns the effect of humidity and dryness in the room where you'll be speaking, theaters being notoriously dry environments. At the end of the video, Wilson reminds Fonda of something you may find useful before your next speech: Make sure you're drinking water at least an hour before you are to speak, as it will take that much time for the water to have an impact on your vocal chords. I'd add that this is even more important in colder winter climates, where humidity's in short supply indoors. Speakers should prepare by drinking water, avoiding beverages that may dehydrate you further (like alcohol) and preferring hot water with lemon if your throat isn't up to par. You can find out more about Fonda, including her own experiences as a public speaker, in her fine autobiography, My Life So Far, a revealing and well-written book.

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