Sound Design - 2012

Four Days of Fury - Atlanta History Center

Catherine Hughes, Director

A particularly unusual process in which I never met in person with the rest of the artistic team.  Meetings were conducted through Skype and I never visited the Atlanta History Center.  It's the only show I've ever done where I never heard how the content I created sounded in the space it performed in.  This interactive museum theatre piece comprised of several environments that the audience would move though.  I created the aural world of each using sound effects, historical recordings and period music.  

Sample below.

Packer Fans From Outer Space - Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Jenny Wanasek, Director

This campy sci-fi play about aliens who have modeled their society after the Packers/Bears football rivalry was super fun to work on.  I got to fulfill my dream of making all sorts of out-of-this-world-in-a-1950's-sci-fi-movie-kind-of-way sound effects.  Spaceships, transporters, scanning devices; it had it all.  And it was a musical, too.

Samples below.

Review - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Review - Shepherd Express

Collected Stories - Milwaukee Chamber Theatre/Forward Theatre Madison

C. Michael Wright, Director

An interesting character study about a student's supposed manipulation of her mentor featured one scene in a different location from the rest of the play.  That scene, set in a lecture hall was scored with audience reactions that I sourced from behind the actual audience.  This created the somewhat unnerving feeling that fellow audience members had suddenly decided to interact with the action of the play.  The show was co-produced with Madison's Forward Theatre.  I attended the single day remount rehearsal at the Oscar Meyer theatre, a significantly different type of venue than the Broadway Theatre Center's Studio, where the Chamber Theatre production took place.  It was fairly challenging to recreate the sound in such a different space, but the results were quite good.

Review - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

American Fiesta - McGivern Productions/Renaissance Theatreworks

John McGivern, Director

I put together the sound package for this one-man semi-touring show's re-work that included several fun effects.  It also has the distinct honor of being the show that caused me to create the most annoying sound effect I've ever done, a solid minute of a Geiger counter.

Sample below.

Southbridge - Uprooted Theatre Company

Marti Gobel, Director

Southbridge was an intense murder mystery with a supernatural edge,  following the story of a jailed man recalling the event that led to his incarceration.  This included a "vision" sequence that I created an ambient soundtrack for.  Chopping wood was another re-occuring sound.  I shifted the sound between naturalistic and heightened to support the metaphor it represented within the action of the moment.

Samples below.

The Flu Season - Youngblood Theatre Company

Michael Cotey, Director

This production was staged in the cafeteria of the Columbia-St. Mary's hospital northwest quadrant campus as it was being renovated after it's sale to the University of WI - Milwaukee.  I augmented the rather creepy ambience of "ruined hospital" with a soundscape of sick people that greeted the audience as they came into the space.  The sound system was an old stereo with it's speakers run to the rear of the playing space, their cords crossing the cafeteria counter.   The show, about two mental patients who discover love in the wrong place that ultimately results in tragedy featured a slew of discordant indie rock that I used as the inspiration for a piano based theme that underscored key moments.  I also created the sound of an old CRT television coming on to support a projection element in the show - something I think turned out well.

Samples below.

Review - Urban Milwaukee Dial

Review - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Review - (mention)

Neat - Rennaisance Theatreworks

Susan Fète, Director

A stand out production for me, Neat was a one-woman production starring Marti Gobel in a tour-de-force performance that had multiple characters relating the story of a brain damaged young woman who's naïve perspective reveals  wisdom and powerful observation.  Touching and insightful, the sound needed to be exactly perfect to augment the brilliant storytelling taking place.  The time and setting put us firmly in 60's-70's R&B music, which is always a wonderful period for a sound designer.  The design also included riots, gumboot dance beats, outdoor ambience and one of the lowest and brutal drone tones I've ever made.  I recall consternating over what music would become "Neat's Theme" - a piece that would close the show that had to evoke a very specific and complex feeling.  I landed on Erik Satie's Gymnopedia 1 (Flying) and the first time it played with the moment in the play it was unanimously agreed that we had found one of those rare moments when the design elements had perfectly coalesced with the script and action.  One of my finest moments - just the choice of a piece of music.  

Samples below.

Review - Milwaukee Magazine

Review - On

Review - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel