Friday, September 2, 2011

Day Six - Sound Design!

Lizzie, our sound designer, sounds off on what it is like to enhance the show with awesome music and sound effects.

How did you get involved in this show? Have you worked with sound design before?
I got asked to do this show because of my previous sound design work. This is my second O-show and 7th Tufts student production to sound design: Torn Ticket's 2009 O-show You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Little Shop of Horrors, my first year show Ring Round the Moon (which was the first show I had ever tech'd for let alone sound designed,) and for 3P's The Illusion, subUrbia, and Yerma. Like I said I knew nothing about sound design before I got roped into my First Year show, in high school I did musical theater, choir, and some other drama productions, but never tech. I'm now a senior and one of the most experienced sound designers here, which is kind of weird to me...

What is special about the O-Show, sound-wise?
The only interaction you get with your director and other designers before the week before the show goes up is usually one pstaff meeting at the end of the previous year and through email. That's not how the typical show works. Usually I get a lot of time to through around ideas, have the director listen to them and get opinions. For the O-show I try to have more of my decisions narrowed down or made before my first sit down meeting with the director. Everything has to move super quickly from there.

What is your sound design concept for the show?
My design is really pretty simple, I chose timeless or classic songs that work in any time period for whatever stage of life or friendship. This show has Fats Domino, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, the Doors and others - artists who's songs have withstood decades. Its not very often that I get to use such a wide genre pool, usually shows are very time period or genre specific. This time I've given it a general theme and everyone seems to like the universally recognizable tunes along with the universally recognizable characters.
Each scene for this show is almost a mini play so the transition music in between scenes helps create ambience while the set is being transformed to the next scene's set. The music gets to serve as a bridge while this is happening. A special part of this show is that I got to use other people's involvement in my design. I asked cast and pstaff to send me a song that reminds them of friends or is sentimental in some way and I incorporated those songs into the pre/post show music.

What is the most difficult thing about sound designing an O-Show?
Honestly its assessing the state of the sound equipment in the booth. Sound designer is also in charge of the communication system for running rehearsals in the arena and after a long summer the systems are never running quite like the were before. We waste a good amount of time getting everything to work well enough for us to communicate with each other back stage and to make sure that sound is actually coming out of the speakers.

What is the most fun thing about sound-designing an O-Show?
Being here for orientation week is awesome. All the reunions that happen while you're working on the show or when you're walking around campus the week before school actually starts are really fun. While the O-show is work its not the same as class work by any means so you get to enjoy your friends while putting together a great performance for the first years.

What are you most looking forward to this week?
I look forward to seeing two shows in one space in one week actually get pulled off. Its pretty incredible when you think about it, almost insane, that it actually gets done by a bunch of dedicated college kids!

What do you think of the play?
I liked reading it but I love how Cole is directing it and the actors are acting it. Its funny, totally relatable, sentimental and a great show for the first year students to see in order to get a taste of Tufts theater.

Is it difficult to sound design for the arena?
It is an acoustically unique space but since I've never designed anywhere else I wouldn't really know if its more difficult than another.

Any advice for freshmen interested in sound design?
Come talk to me! I'll share with you anything I can. There isn't a class at Tufts that can teach you this stuff, you just have to be mentored and learn on your own, but its a pretty cool job and you can get a hang of the basics quickly.

A little more about Lizzie:
In addition to sound designing I'm also in a sorority, was a Peer Health Exchange educator, worked at the 2010 World Cup, went abroad to Ghana last fall, and worked with a non-profit in Washington DC this summer so really feel free to come find me or email me about anything!

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