ON ACTING: Anger; and a Squeaky Voice
What causes it...or more specifically, how to get rid of it.
I gave the young lady in class an angry scene. She said she had difficulty with anger; especially admitting it ("copping to it", was the phrase we used) in public. She played the scene with her usual "squeakiness" of voice...until one moment in the scene when, truly aroused, she gave full vent to anger...and the squeakiness disappeared; and a full, weighty sound came easily out of her throat.
Comfortableness with anger--and the subsequent full open sound emanating from an open throat and a un-tensed chest (and therefore the possibility of full lung capacity)--are directly related.
I believe people with squeaky voices are holding something back, generally anger. Not that they don't feel anger; they do, but when they speak, they "squeak", exhibiting their uncomfortableness with it. They back off of confrontation. They don't like conflict. They are reluctant to reveal their anger in public. They (the women) often say they feel like a "bitch" when exhibiting anger. I tell them they are wrong. Most women feel like bitches when exhibiting anger because men, as a tactic when facing women's often justifiable wrath, have told them that they are bitches when in truth the women are merely being strong...even when the woman's anger is perfectly justified by the circumstances.
My work with this particular actress is to get her comfortable with anger, the full power of her personality, in public, whenever she feels so moved, without embarrassment or apology. She must embrace justifiable conflict, stand forcible up to opposition. Her anger is hers. She need not back off, both literally and figuratively, tensing her chest and vocal cavity--squelching her anger--when feeling like directing her anger at someone. Let it out.
My experience with the squeaky voices in hundreds of actors--her and others--is thata repressed vocal tone will invariably become a richer, fuller, more weighty and more pleasant to hear one when their anger is an acceptable part, in and out of public, of their human personality.