The Art & Science of Sound Design for the Theatre

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January 7, 2018

Practicing the art of Sound Design is becoming increasingly complex as technology and expectations evolve; however I see the purpose of Sound Design for the theatre as simple. Sound and music must serve to raise the level of the audience’s understanding of the story on a macro level (the overall statement the playwright is making) and on a micro level (specific moments.) We must never attempt to make the audience feel or think a certain way. We must help tell the story and allow the audience members to interpret the theatre experience in their own unique way, encouraging everyone to participate in a conversation, (not a lecture) that continues long after the curtain comes down.

How does the Sound Designer do that? We choose music and effects that set tone, mood, tempo, intensity, time period, geographical location, etc. We become masters of our tools – the delivery system (sound systems, microphones, speakers, etc), recording technology and computer networking, for example – so that we can use them in an artful way.

All sound and silence an audience hears must be as deliberate as the words and pauses the playwright puts into the script, the timber and tone the actors use, the costumes, lighting and set. Sound Design is wholistic in this way, as it must work in harmony with all the other elements of the theatrical event.

My ultimate goal: to raise the audience’s level and depth of understanding of the story we intend to tell.

Bright Star

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February 21, 2018

Bright Star by Steve Martin and Eddie Brickell
Barter Theatre
Directed by Richard Rose

Music, Book & Story by Steve Martin
Music, Lyric & Story by Edie Brickell

Inspired by a real event, this bluegrass musical tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ‘40s. Literary editor Alice Murphy enters a relationship with a young soldier just home from World War II that awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past — and what she finds has the power to transform both of their lives. Barter Theatre brings you the first production of this show in the United States since its run on Broadway. See it here first at Barter Theatre!

 

A Facility For Living

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February 21, 2018

A Facility For Living by Katie Forgette
Barter Theatre Stage II
Directed by Susanne Boulle

The Golden Girls meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in the hilarious and possibly disturbing story of what life may be like in the not-so-distant future. For the residents of Federal Nursing Home #273, a penitentiary that has been converted to a senior center, every day is a monotonous cycle of pills, old Ronald Reagan movies, and mandatory bedtimes, all overseen by the killjoy head nurse who has embraced her inner Nurse Ratched. When a new resident arrives to shake things up, this band of misfits hatch an outrageous plan to break all the rules and in the process rediscover purpose and dignity in the face of a system mightily stacked against them.

Barter Theatre – A 10 minute Documentary

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February 11, 2018

Mia Lazar, a rising eighth grader at the New School in Blacksburg Virginia, won first place at the National Level of the 2015 National History Day competition for this video. It describes Robert Porterfield’s amazing achievement in Abingdon Virginia of founding the Barter Theatre. The theater supported hungry actors during the Great Depression by allowing audiences to barter food for theater. Today, the Barter Theatre continues to be a world-class theater that is a vibrant part of historic Abingdon’s culture. One of the highlights in this video is Mia’s interview of Broadway star and Tony-award winning actress, Elizabeth Wilson (of The Graduate, Addams Family and 30+ other films). This might have been the last interview of Ms. Wilson, who died in May 2015 at age 94.

 

Side Effects May Include…

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January 12, 2018

I’m helping out with this one man show. Here’s some info from Nick Koesters’ facebook page:

“Just in case you don’t know. I am self producing a one man show entitle Side Effects May Include. The purpose of the show is to raise awareness about Parkinson’s Disease. With 9 days until my first of three show and a barrage of media happening in the next 6 days, the show is 1/3 sold. So if you want to come see SEMI get your tickets now folks.
I also have spaces available for individuals or groups who offer support to Parkinson’s Patients in the cafe to set up and pass along information about their group, before and after the event. Leave a reply here to contact me.”

 

This is a funny and touching and uplifting piece. Well worth it!

QLAB create midi cue to trigger lighting console – AppleScript

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January 8, 2018

This will create a midi cue to execute a cue on a lighting console. They must have some kind of midi interface, of course.


# First - change the device ID
#then, change the repeat to whatever number you want


# Choose and open the QLab file
set theFile to (choose file with prompt "Select the QLab File:" without invisibles)
tell application "QLab"
	activate
	open theFile
	
	# First, Create a first cue. This is due to the requirements of QLab cue selections. It will be deleted later.
	tell front workspace
		make type "memo"
		set firstCue to first item of (selected as list)
		set q number of firstCue to 1.0E-5
		
		set theID to the uniqueID of firstCue
		set the notes of firstCue to theID
		tell cue list 1
			move cue id theID to before the first cue
		end tell
		#get the last cue in the list
		
		
	end tell
	
	(*
	display dialog "How many cues do you have to create?" default answer ""
	set xRepititions to the text returned of the result as real
	repeat xRepititions times
*)
	
	repeat 1 times
		tell front workspace
			repeat with xSelection in every cue
				moveSelectionUp
			end repeat
			display dialog "Enter Cue Number" default answer ""
			set theCueNumber to (the text returned of the result) as real
			
			# real is a real number, as opposed to integer
			#		make type "midi"
			#		set q number of last item of (selected as list) to theCueNumber
			repeat with xCue in every cue
				if q number of xCue is less than 1 then
					#beep
				else
					set xCueNumber to the q number of xCue as real
					if theCueNumber > xCueNumber then
						moveSelectionDown
					end if
					if theCueNumber = xCueNumber then
						beep
						display dialog (theCueNumber as string) & " already exists!"
						tell cue list 1
							delete the first cue
						end tell
						error
					end if
				end if
			end repeat
			
			(*
			set lastCue to the last cue
			if theCueNumber < q number of lastCue then
				moveSelectionUp
			end if
*)
			
			set newCue to make type "midi"
			set newCue to last item of (selected as list)
			set q number of newCue to theCueNumber
			#set q number of selected to theCueNumber
			set message type of newCue to msc
			set command format of newCue to 1
			set deviceID of newCue to 1
			set q_number of newCue to theCueNumber
			set the q name of newCue to "LX " & theCueNumber
		end tell
	end repeat
	tell front workspace
		tell cue list 1
			delete the first cue
		end tell
	end tell
	
end tell

Barter Theatre Announces 2018 Season

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January 8, 2018

Barter Theatre has announced our 2018 Season. I’m slated to design all of them. If you’re interested in interning for Barter’s Sound Despartment, please do contact me.


Spring 2018

Gilliam Stage

BRIGHT STAR

“Downright wonderful! A Gorgeous Anthem to Optimism!”
Music, Book & Story by Steve Martin
Music, Lyric & Story by Edie Brickell
Inspired by a real event, this bluegrass musical tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ‘40s. Literary editor Alice Murphy enters a relationship with a young soldier just home from World War II that awakens her longing for the child she once lost. Haunted by their unique connection, Alice sets out on a journey to understand her past — and what she finds has the power to transform both of their lives. Barter Theatre brings you the first production of this show in the United States since its run on Broadway; See it here first at Barter Theatre!
MID-FEBRUARY to EARLY APRIL

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT

“Action packed, exciting story; a tight and timely thriller; Perfect piece of theatre.”
Adapted by Matt Pelfrey based on John Ball’s Novel
Based on the award-winning book that inspired the Oscar-winning film and the Emmy-winning television series. It’s 1962. A hot August night lies heavy over the small town of Argo, Alabama. The local police discover a dead white man and arrest a black stranger named Virgil Tibbs. They soon find their prime suspect is a homicide detective from California. As it happens, Tibbs becomes the racially tense community’s only hope in solving a brutal murder that is turning up no witnesses, no motives, and no clues.
APRIL to MID-MAY

Barter Stage II

A FACILITY FOR LIVING

“Amusing, entertaining, and life affirming; the Boomers Generation will not go down without a fight!”
A Comedy by Katie Forgette
The Golden Girls meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in the hilarious and possibly disturbing story of what life may be like in the not-so-distant future. For the residents of Federal Nursing Home #273, a penitentiary converted into a senior center, every day is a monotonous cycle of pills, old Ronald Reagan movies, and mandatory bedtimes, all overseen by the killjoy head nurse who has embraced her inner Nurse Ratched. When a new resident arrives to shake things up, this band of misfits hatch an outrageous plan to break all the rules and in the process rediscovers purpose and dignity in the face of a system mightily stacked against them.
FEBRUARY to MARCH

Shakespeare’s RICHARD III

In a Unique Production adapted by Katy Brown
The deceptive and sadistic Richard, Duke of Gloucester, stops at nothing to become King. With intelligence, political brilliance, and dazzling use of language, he keeps his subjects and rivals under his thumb…. you might even start to feel a little pressure yourself. Don’t miss this engaging and refreshing production in an original adaptation by Barter’s Shakespeare expert.
MARCH to APRIL

Summer 2018

Gilliam Stage

SISTER ACT

Music by Alan Menken Lyrics by Glenn Slater
Book by Cheri Steinkellner and Bill Steinkellner
Additional Book Material by Douglas Carter Beane
A heavenly surprise, filled with powerful gospel music, outrageous dancing and a truly moving story, this feel-good comedy smash will have you jumping to your feet with excitement and joy! A woman hiding in a convent helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she rediscovers her own. Make a joyful noise and join us for this musical comedy smash based on the hit film starring Whoopi Goldberg. “’Take Me to Heaven’ and ‘Spread the Love Around’ bloom into full-throttle disco epics, the latter building up to an ecstatic finale.” –NY Post
LATE-MAY to MID-AUGUST

STEEL MAGNOLIAS

By Robert Harling
A heart-warming portrait of friendship and love is the basis for this much loved film. You will experience the tales of six women who gather under the dryers at Truvy’s Beauty Salon to share gossip, laughter, recipes and beauty secrets on four significant days during their lives in a small southern town.
MID-JUNE to MID-AUGUST

Barter Stage II

THE LEMONADE STAND

A Comedy by Matthew Fowler
Garret Miller is having a midlife crisis. When he gets fired from the only job he’s ever had, he decides to set up a lemonade stand on the street in front of his upscale suburban house. All the while, his wife is probably cheating on him, his brother is a pariah, and the college girl next door wants to be his lemonade-stand intern. In this dramatic comedy, Garret sets out to prove “the American Dream,” “an American Dream,” or at least his American Dream still exists.
JULY — AUGUST

MADAME BUTTERMILK

A Barter Audience Favorite
By Ross Carter
It’s l’amour, y’all! Country music meets opera in the most unlikely, unbelievable and undoubtedly the most popular play to ever come through Barter’s Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights. A struggling opera singer has a dream: to sing the lead in Carmen. Her agent thinks she’s found the answer! But she finds herself singing at a state fair with a country music band called the Car Men —agents clash, people panic, and the singers erupt at the worst of possible moments in one of the funniest musicals you will ever experience.
MID-JUNE to MID-AUGUST

Fall 2018

Gilliam Stage

AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’
The Fats Waller Musical Show

Music by Thomas “Fats” Waller
Conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz
The joint is jumpin’ with the new Swing beat to the music of the inimitable Thomas “Fats” Waller, who rose to international fame during the Golden Age of the Cotton Club. Ain’t Misbehavin’ evokes the delightful humor and infectious energy of this American original as a versatile cast struts, strums and sings the songs of “Fats” Waller made famous in a career that ranged from uptown clubs to downtown Tin Pan Alley to Hollywood, and concert stages in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The intoxicating music of Fats Waller will delight and energize audiences as well as provide great insight into a vibrant time in American history and music.
MID-AUGUST to EARLY SEPTEMBER

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN

“The Greatest Movie Musical of All Time”
Book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Songs by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown
Based on the classic Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film by special arrangement with Warner Bros Theatre Ventures
“Make ‘Em Laugh,” “You Are My Lucky Star,” “You Were Meant for Me,” “All I do is Dream of You,” and, of course the title song, “Singin’ in the Rain,” are but a few of the wonderful songs from one of the most celebrated and beloved musical films ever made. Live and onstage, these unforgettable scenes, songs and dances will make you laugh, make you sing, wow you with the spectacle of it all, and leave you with a night to remember for the rest of your life.
MID-SEPTEMBER to MID-NOVEMBER

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Adapted by Catherine Bush
From the original book by Charles Dickens
In a humorous and moving adaptation of Dickens’ tale, Barter’s Playwright-in-Residence Catherine Bush amazes audiences as the story comes bursting to life in a stylized and fast-paced world that is sure to leave you gasping for breath and on your feet with excitement. Pip, a poor orphan child in 19th century England, is mysteriously plucked from obscurity by the wealthy and decaying Miss Havisham, changing his life forever. A secretive benefactor, unrequited love, and a series of great expectations plague Pip as he attempts to discover whether people can change who they truly are.
LATE SEPTEMBER to MID-NOVEMBER

Barter Stage II

SALLY MCCOY

“Winner of Barter’s 2017 Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights.”
By Alice Stanley
In the midst of the first gruesomely violent event of the legendary Hatfield and McCoy feud, one woman does what she must to save her family. Sally McCoy tells a harrowing and deeply personal story which takes a hard look at how women’s stories and perspectives are too often excluded from our historical narratives. Set in August 1882, Sally’s three eldest sons are captured by the Hatfield clan. Sally defies her womanly place in the home and crosses miles of Appalachian wilderness in the dark of night to save her children from certain death at the vengeful hands of the Hatfields. After traveling all those miles alone, she arrives at the home of the Hatfield patriarch, “Devil” Anse Hatfield, and refuses to let anything stand in her way until she has seen the “Devil” face to face.
SEPTEMBER to MID-OCTOBER

THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY

Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Book by Marsha Norman
Based on the novel by Robert James Waller
Based on the best-selling novel, a forbidden love affair between a photographer and a housewife changes them forever. This sweeping romance about the roads we travel, the doors we open and the bridges we dare to cross will leave you breathless. With a soaring score, this powerful musical captures the lyrical expanse of America’s heartland along with the yearning entangled in the eternal question “What if…?”
OCTOBER to MID-NOVEMBER

Christmas 2018

Gilliam Stage

ELF: THE MUSICAL

Book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin
Music by Matthew Sklar Lyrics by Chad Beguelin
Based upon the New Line Cinema film written by David Berenbaum
A hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan who accidentally crawls into Santa’s bag and is taken back to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised, unaware that he is actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities force him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Faced with the harsh realities that his father is on the naughty list and his half-brother doesn’t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help them remember the true meaning of Christmas. After all, the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear.
MID-NOVEMBER to LATE DECEMBER

Barter Stage II

WOODEN SNOWFLAKES

“Christmas can be a time for miracles, if you open your soul to receive them.”
By Catherine Bush
Trapped on Christmas Eve because her car slid off the icy Kentucky road, Eve Lawson, a cynic who refuses to believe in Santa Claus, finds herself in the home of Simon Peter Whitaker, a woodcarver and expert on Christmas, who is dressed as Santa. Believer and unbeliever find themselves clashing time and time again as old wounds struggle to be healed by the Love that is Christmas. Join us for an evening of humor, surprises and joy as written by one of Barter’s favorite authors.
In Repertory with The Santaland Diaries
NOVEMBER to DECEMBER

THE SANTALAND DIARIES

*Recommended for mature audience due to language and subject matter
This outrageous holiday comedy stars Crumpet, a rebel without a Claus, who recounts his true-life tale of being an out-of-work writer doing a stint as a Macy’s department store elf. His encounters, as an Elf during the season of forced joy, have become a delightful cult classic for those in need of a holly-jolly antidote! A delightfully absurd look at the commercial Christmas season, Sedaris’ sharp and hilarious observations have rapidly become one of the nation’s most popular holiday shows. Barter’s production will feature one of Barter’s favorite actors, Nick Piper, as Crumpet. In Repertory with Wooden Snowflakes
LATE-NOVEMBER to DECEMBER

Three Days of Rain

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January 8, 2018

Three Days of Rain by Michael Meredith
The Round House Theatre
Directed by Jerry Whiddon

Some Music I wrote for the play:
 
Opening/Top of Act 1


Scene Change/Transition


Scene Change/Transition


End of Act 1


Top of Act 2


Scene Change/Transition


End of Act 2

Convert your Clipboard Contents to Plain Text – AppleScript

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January 7, 2018

When I copy text from the web or other places, I often want to lose the text formatting when I paste it.  Here’s a script I wrote to do just that:


# Convert contents of clipboard to plain text.
tell current application
	activate
	do shell script "pbpaste | textutil -convert txt -stdin -stdout -encoding 30 | pbcopy; exit 0"
	display dialog "Clipboard has been converted to plain text."
end tell