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Being Audrey
music and lyrics by ELLEN WEISS book by JAMES HINDMAN
additional lyrics and book by CHERYL STERN, directed by JACK CUMMINGS III

Being Audrey
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from Being Audrey

ROLE
DATE
COMPANY
THEATRE
CITY
DIRECTOR
ATTENDANCE
PERFORMANCES
  SOUND DESIGNER
MARCH-APRIL, 2009
THE TRANSPORT GROUP
THE CONNELEY THEATRE
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
JACK CUMMINGS III
1645
22

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Overview  
The Transport Group describes Being Audrey as "the story of Claire Stark, the New York woman who has it all: a beautiful life, marital and social bliss, and a view of Tiffany's from her Fifth Avenue apartment. When calamity strikes and her fairytale world threatens to collapse, Claire seeks refuge in her imagination, where she embarks on a hilarious, romantic adventure inspired by the films of her heroine, Audrey Hepburn. As Hepburn's character in the classic films Roman Holiday, Funny Face, Love in the Afternoon, Sabrina, and Breakfast at Tiffany's, Claire's fantastical escape appears complete until she must confront the reality of what she stands to lose."

Being Audrey occurs in a hospital although the play's main character, Claire, imagines famous scenes pulled from her favorite classic Hepburn movies. There is little scenery for this production. A gurney, some limited hospital machinery, and curtains are the only scenic items on stage. Sound and lighting design become necessary to provide a sense of place and life beyond the actors, since the physical scenery is limited.

This production is in my portfolio as an example of how I use the internet, web design, and web delivered media to communicate with the director and other designers. During the weeks of pre-production design work, I posted mockups of potential elements of sound for Being Audrey on this page for the production team to review. In some instances, one will see I provided two or more choices of a particular element for the director to choose from. This page facilitated conversation between me and the director, as well as the sound installation crew, technical director, and other designers. This method proved useful, given that I was working from Virginia with artists located in New York City. The descriptions underneath each audio example have been purposefully left in the same state as originally presented.

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Design Drawings
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cue list   signal flow   ground plan   ground plan
Current Cue List   Sound System Signal Flow   Theatre Ground Plan with Sound   Equipment
Manifest
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Sounds
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EXAMPLE 1 SHIP SEQUENCE Look Inside the Sound(click gears to see the components of this composition)
This cue includes a ship horn borrowed from the Sabrina movie, a ship cutting through water, and seagulls. Later in this mockup, the engine room becomes more present followed by a breakdown of the engine and two loud explosions. Next is the sound of the ship sinking, followed by two people jumping off the ship into water. They both go under water for a brief second and when they come back to the surface there is only the sound of gentle waves slowly fading.

EXAMPLE 2 ELEVATOR SEQUENCE Look Inside the Sound
This sequence illustrates the elevator's role in the script. First, the doors close leaving the listener with the internal fan noise within the elevator and no elevator movement. Next, a ding signifies the doors opening revealing a hospital ambiance. Then, the doors close, the elevator ascends, the doors open, and another floor of the hospital is heard. Finally the doors close, the elevator ascends, dings, the doors open, and the listener is left with the sounds of an operating room.

EXAMPLE 3 TAXI SEQUENCE Look Inside the Sound

This mockup illustrates how the taxi cues work. First, the sound of a taxi is heard making a quick stop. Next the taxi door opens, followed by the door closing from the interior perspective of the taxi. Next is the interior perspective of the taxi idling followed by the sound of the taxi rushing off. The taxi then swerves through the park. Finally, the taxi "hops" back on the road and screeches to a halt.

EXAMPLE 4 CAMERA SHOOT (CHOICES 1 and 2)
Here are two to choose from.

EXAMPLE 5 VESPA SEQUENCE Look Inside the Sound
This sequence is a Vespa ride from the perspective of the rider. A series of cues are strung together for this mockup. The first cue is the sound of turning the Vespa on, revving it, then riding off. The second cue is a European police siren. The third is the sound of the Vespa swerving to avoid hitting a group of nuns (referencing dialogue in the script). Added to this are screaming nuns with a Doppler effect. The final cue is a really loud rev of the engine and the sound of the Vespa sliding to a halt.

EXAMPLE 6 THE PARTY (as in Breakfast at Tiffany's) Look Inside the Sound

This environment is for the party scene in sequence 6, page 73. Extra cues can be added to this for cueable laughter, applause, or other general bursts. There are general bursts of crowd noises randomly mixed in.

EXAMPLE 7 OUTDOOR CAFE (Rome)Look Inside the Sound
This piece presents the sound of outdoor ambience near a street cafe. There are multiple layers of Italian "walla" and general nearby traffic noises. City birds are present, including the starlings from the area. The accordion is added to help validate the collage, but it can be removed.

EXAMPLE 8 OUTDOOR PARTY (as in Sabrina) Look Inside the Sound
This piece is for sequence 3, page 24. This mockup is modeled after the party from the "tree" scene in Sabrina. Added is a performance of "Isn't It Romantic" to help better place the collage of people sounds. The crowd applauds at the end of the song.
EXAMPLE 9 AMBULANCE TO EMERGENCY ROOM Look Inside the Sound
This example is for Sequence 1 of the play. First, the sound of an ambulance arriving is heard, followed by van doors and the sound of the gurney being removed. Next, a gurney is heard as it is hurriedly rolled through the hospital doors, past a waiting area and into the emergency room. There is an interesting contrast between the chaos of the waiting area and the almost quiet atmosphere of the emergency room.

EXAMPLE 10 DEFIBRILLATOR (CHOICES 1 and 2) Look Inside the Sound
These are for page 8, "Clear!"

EXAMPLE 11 X-RAY
X-Ray zap for Page 56.

EXAMPLE 12 OPENING AND CLOSING VOICEOVERS (Dominick Dunne)
The first five are for the opening scene and the sixth one is for the closing of the show. Dominick Dunne, investigative journalist and American writer, performs the voice over.

EXAMPLE 13 HOSPITAL MACHINERY (Page 24 into Sequence 3) Look Inside the Sound
This piece starts on Page 24 after, "you dine with the King" and continues until the outdoor party noises are heard at the top of Sequence 3. These sounds will fade in at that point. The machinery in this mockup speeds up over time, and the effect is that Claire is overwhelmed enough to slip back into an Audrey movie.

EXAMPLE 14 EKG AND FLATLINE (Pages 8, 73, & 78) Look Inside the Sound
Here is an example of an EKG going into a flat line sound. Also, these sounds, without the flatline, will comprise the general sound of the hospital when it is heard within the play. The opening hospital scene will also include more voices, sirens, and general mayhem.
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Production Photos  
photo photo photo photo
Claire Stark watching her
favorite Audrey movie
Dr. Think Pink and her
helper consider giving Claire
a makeover.
Claire becomes Audrey and
dances with medical workers
in the emergency room.
Claire tries to escape the
hospital via the elevator.
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Reviews
 
"...makes use of some nifty effects, including sound bites from Hepburn's films, an
impressive explosion, and a ship's horn."
-Lighting and Sound America
"Dominick Dunne to Provide Voice-Over for Being Audrey"
-TheatreMania
Other Press
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