SOUND DESIGN

ANGELS IN AMERICA: PARTS I & II by Tony Kushner

Oberlin College Theater Department - April 2018

Directed by Matthew Wright

Co-Sound Designed with Janie Crooks

This show was the largest show I have designed to date, with a total of over 400 sound cues between both parts, which were performed in rep. My co-designer found industrial music and electronic beats to match to various characters and I was responsible for editing them to suit individual moments. My favorite element from the design of this show was the microphone effects on the Angel. We miced only the four actors playing the Angel and processed their voices through a ring modulator and heavy reverb, making their voices sound distinctly inhuman and otherworldly.

To the left is a sample of one of the cues created for this show. It is the sound portion of an "animatronic" diorama show within New York City's Mormon Visitor's Center. Actors played the animatronic Mormons who were traveling to Utah, moving mechanically while the sound cue played. This is a shorted version of the cue, as the New World Symphony continued to play under dialog after the diorama show ended. 

Photo: Daniel James; Set Design: Laura Carlson-Tarantwoski; Lighting Design: Jeremy Benjamin; Costume Design: Chris Flaharty

Poster curtesey of Oberlin Student Theatre Association

THE SANTALAND DIARIES

by David Sedaris

Oberlin Student Theater Association - December 2017

Directed by Nathan Carpenter

This play is a one man show based on an essay of the same name by David Sedaris about his experiences working as an elf at Macy's Santaland. The character drinks throughout the show and by intermission, is clearly a little tipsy. The goal of the cue to the right was to underscore a particularly dark monologue comparing Santa and Satan and give the moment a different, more intense tone than the other tipsy rants in the show. 

ANA LA HABIBI

by Jad Kaiss

Oberlin College Theater LabSeries - April 2019

Directed by Jad Kaiss

New Work Premiere

Ana La Habibi was a truly delightful show to work on and also unique in that the playwright, Jad Kaiss, was also the director. The script is a story of love, Arabic identity, and the power that our relationships have on our sense of self. Sound plays a very important role in this script, as the music of Fairuz, a Lebanese musical icon, serves as a leitmotif and a metaphor for the main character's sense of identity. An old record player serves as another metaphor for a failing romantic relationship. 

For this show, I utilized directionality to create a very cinematic speaker system design. There was a small wireless speaker in the record player, making it a practical, and speakers at multiple heights within the space. This allowed me to use space and directionality to emphasize diegetic music within scenes and non-diegetic transition music.

The cue to the right is an original composition that played from the record player after the death of May Elder, a minor character who passes away after a battle with terminal illness. The goal of the cue was to convey the emotional weight of the moment.

Photo: Sofie Rejto; Set Design: Jad Kaiss & Laura Carlson-Tarantwoski; Lighting Design: Ben Saltz; Costume Design: Heather Leigh Brown

Photo by Daniel James; Set Design by Dean Grosbard; Lighting Design by Sam Eisner

CORPUS CHRISTI

by Terrence McNally

Oberlin College Theater LabSeries - November 2016

Directed by Em Westheimer

This production of Corpus Christi, a play telling the story of Jesus Christ and His disciples as gay men living in Texas during the 1990's AIDs crisis, was exploration of queerness, gender, and religion. Em Westheimer's approach to this show featured Joshua, the Christ figure, as a transgender woman. The sound design for this play centered on using ambient sound to emphasize holiness (and lack thereof) of certain characters and scenes. 

To the left is a selection of the cue that underscored one of the first scenes of the play when all the actors are in Heaven and are being baptized into their roles in the story about to play out on Earth. The goal was to create a sacred space where spiritually significant things could occur. It is one of my favorite cues that I have ever made.