04 February 2013

The Radio Plays comes to a close

The past four weeks have been a blur. As soon as classes started back up at UCI, I went into rehearsals for The Radio Plays, a mini-festival of three pieces of aural theatre. I produced the event and directed two of the plays: Sherlock Holmes: Murder in the Casbah, and Do I Really Sound Like That.  Eli Simon, a colleague at UCI, wrote and directed a third piece, The Wildest Dream Ever.

Our Sherlock was the most old-fashioned of the three plays, particularly in its approach to sound design. Almost all of the sounds were done using old Hollywood foley techniques, including crumbling dried leaves for fire, popping balloons for gunfire, etc. There were a couple of unusual technologic solutions, but mostly, this was a history piece. The one historically inaccurate thing I did was to cast the show using primarily women. Even Holmes and Dr. Watson were women, and it didn't take much rewording of the text to flip the gender of the characters.

Do I Really Sound Like That is a world premiere by playwright Sean Cunningham, and it was the inverse of the Holmes play: very modern, very non-foley (the sound effects were mostly playback pieces) and quite vulgar in places. There were some elements of foley, but most of my work with the actors focused on the text and character.

The Wildest Dream Ever was originally a dream that Simon had, and it became a vocal and percussion score as the cast took us on a dream journey through outer space, the depths of the ocean, and the Wizard of Oz.

Here are some photos:

The stage preset.

In performance for The Wildest Dream Ever.

The cast of Sherlock was surrounded by microphones.

A little manual vocal manipulation in Do I Really Sound Like That.
 The show went up and down in the same weekend, so after four weeks of intense rehearsals, everything is finished.  I'm sorry to see it go; I had a terrific (if exhausting) time working on it. Thanks to everyone who took part!  Now, on to the next project!