Blue Jacket Outdoor Drama by William Mundell, compact disc compilation of 1993 musical score with additional sounds. First Frontier, Inc. Sound Designer/Composer/Graphic Design.
Although this is a historical outdoor play, many consider the story's main character, Blue Jacket, to be a fictitious character. According to legend, he was the only white person to be appointed War Chief of the Shawnee Native American tribe. The Shawnee were known for adopting people of other races and cultures. This first example is Chief Blackfish's theme. Blackfish is a supporting character in the story primarily reflecting his relationships with early American frontiersman Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton and his refusal to leave Shawnee land claimed by the Americans. The tracks were created in 1993 with one Ensoniq EPS 16+ Sampler and an early
Opcode Macintosh based sequencer. I later added Native American flute
to some of these tracks. In 2004, I added some natural soundscpaes to the original music and created this compact disc.
Digital Transfer, Center for Rural Development, Digital Transfer/Mastering of Analog Archives for Folklorist Susan Roach, Louisiana Tech University
Between 2003 and 2004, I received a grant to serve as the digital media specialist for the Center for Rural Development at Louisiana Tech University. During that time, I meticulously transferred and archived many hours of analog folklife recordings captured in rural Louisiana between the years of 1980 and 2004 by folklorist Susan Roach. The final content remains posted at the Louisiana Tech University Center for Rural Development website.
An Alphabet by John Cage, directed by Laura Kuhn, Sound Design/Sound Operator/Music Composition.
In 2001, I was selected as the local liaison for Mikel Rouse, a Meet the Composer grant recipient. During his residency in Ruston, Louisiana, Mikel Rouse was selected as the composer to realize a production written by John Cage, left unfinished at the time of his death. Cage said about Alphabet, “the piece is a fantasy.” It includes the ghosts of such historical figures as James Joyce, Erik Satie, Marcel Duchamp and his alter ego Rrose Selavy (not a typo), Buckminster Fuller, Brigham Young, Robert Rauschenberg and Oppian. All of these people are loosely connected through the dialogue of the Narrator, played by New York actor John Kelly in our production. Also, Merce Cunningham, the internationally recognized choreographer and Cage's long-time companion toured with this production. This was Cunningham's first and only acting role, and he was eighty-four years old at the time Alphabet was produced. As the audience is subjected to the philosophies of the above characters, they are also bombarded with a litany of sound recordings. The play was originally a poetic radio play, written in mesostics. Later, detailed descriptions of sound effects for Alphabet, listed under the headings of “rational” and “irrational” were found in Cage’s diary after he died. The “rational” sounds were pertinent sounds that connected with particular words or phrases in the script. The irrational sounds were to be played at random. Cage was known for his experiments in indeterminacy, a practice that relied on chance rather than prediction. This second list of around one hundred “irrational” sounds contained very specific animal sounds, industrial sounds, sports sounds, and household sounds.
Mikel Rouse and I approached the piece with the spirit of collaboration, involving Louisiana Tech faculty and students. Low brass instructor Andy Lankford, percussion instructor Mel Mobley, and undergraduate composer/sound designer Greg Hennigan all worked on the piece. Together we collected the nearly two hundred sounds required for the piece. I determined a minimalist, quadraphonic playback system that facilitated touring the production internationally. The entire sound score for the production was played back on two portable, mini compact disc players and a Kurzweil sampler. At each performance, we sent the sound from the first player to the front two speakers and the sound from the second player to the rear speakers. We then pressed play on both players at the same time. The first audio example below is a collage of various sounds from the production with a verbal description of the process. Famous artists lent their voices to the production, including Merce Cunningham and painter Jasper Johns. In the second example below, Cunningham's voice is heard, accompanied by a collage of sounds required for scene seventeen of the play. Scene seventeen and a listing of the sounds required for the scene are available in the paperwork section below.
The production premiered at the International Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, and continued to Berlin, Dublin, Perth, Berkeley, and UCLA. I traveled to these cities as master sound technician/sound designer.
In 2001, Louisiana Tech University professor Mark Guinn adapted William Joyce’s The Leafmen and the Brave Good Bugs for the stage. Joyce's Leafmen is a children's illustrated book with very sparse text. We presented his book to an audience with large-scale perspective scenery using a performance style similar to pantomime. In the first audio example below, the sound of an encroaching storm is represented using orchestral instruments. The antagonist of the plot is an evil spider queen. In our production, she was portrayed with a puppet controlled by eight people. The second example below represents the spider queen's theme. I recorded the voice of Jake Guinn, Mark’s son, as the narrator and composed original music and sounds to underscore most of the production. The work also incorporated a live "doodle bug" band comprised of musicians dressed as bugs. Andrew Lankford and Mel Mobley composed the four pieces for the live band. All electronic orchestral music and sound elements were presented in surround-sound utilizing Richmond Sound Design's AudioBox. Listen to a sequence of the entire piece (both electronic orchestral pieces and recordings of live pieces) with narrations by clicking here.
Nunsense, directed by Pamela Hunt, and Greater Tuna, directed by Risa Brainin, Actors Theatre of Louisville; Sound Designer. The productions were part of Actor Theatre of Louisville's summer season. Nunsense was presented in the 318-seat Bingham Theatre and Greater Tuna was presented in the 159-seat Victor Jory Theatre. Click here to view images of these performance spaces.
Like Totally Weird by William Mastrosimone, directed by Miladen Kiselov, Premier Performance at Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival for New American Playwrights; Sound Designer.
In this play, two young boys take their favorite filmmaker hostage and reenact scenes from his “Pulp Fiction” style movies on him. The example below is one of my favorites and is intended to represent a clip from a movie. This clip was played repetitively as the audience waited for the production to start. The effect is that the boys are attending iterations of a particular favorite movie so they can memorize and reenact its scenes. The play ends with the boys reenacting the violent scene represented in the example below on each other, ending in their actual deaths. The text of this cue is written in the script by the playwright. It was my challenge to make the sparse movie text sound like a movie sound track. Although I recorded most of the sounds used in this example, the underscore music is from the soundtrack to the film, Hard Rain.
Dinner With Friends, Pulitzer Prize Winner, by Donald Marguilles, directed by Michael Bloom, Premier Performance at Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival for New American Playwrights; Sound Designer/Composer.
This piece was later produced on Broadway and was also made into an HBO feature film.
Both of these productions were presented in Actor Theatre of Louisville's 637-seat Pamela Brown Auditorium.
One Flea Spare by Naomi Wallace, directed by Ron Daniels, The Public, New York City, New York, starring Dianne Wiest and Mischa Barton, Winner of “Obie” Award for Best New Play, The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Fellowship of Southern Writers Drama Award, and the Kesselring Prize; Composer.
My first opportunity to work on this play came in 1996 at Actors Theatre of Louisville. I composed an original score for the 1996 presentation at the Humana Festival for New American Plays. Then in 1997, the Public presented the play and asked me to compose an entirely new score for it. This beautifully crafted play deals with the relationships and power struggles between social strata placed in the world of 16th century England during the time of the great plague. Two wealthy citizens become quarantined in their home along with two vagabonds. The play's director at the Public, Ron Daniels, requested the sound of the Hurdy Gurdy, a medieval instrument often included in artwork of the time depicting the grim reaper and/or death. I quickly found one and learned to play it enough to begin recording phrases to construct the play's opening theme, represented in the first example below. This play also includes sung songs with lyrics provided by the author in the script. In the second example below, several tracks for these lyrics are heard, including "Tyburn Tree," "One O'Clock," and "Farewell. Click here to see photos from the production at the Public in New York City.
"Michael Rasbury adds a nice Brechtian
touch.." - Curtain Up
Strange Encounters by John Patrick Shanley, directed by Douglas Hughes, and Jack and Jill by Jane Martin, directed by Jon Jory, Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival for New American Playwrights; Sound Designer/Composer.
Strange Encounters is comprised of two, one-act plays, The Rival and Kissing Christine.The Rival occurs in an apartment and is described on Actors Theatre of Louisville's website as, "a comical expedition into the jungle of male competitiveness." I created the first example below to serve as the overture for The Rival. The second one-act, Kissing Christine, occurs in a Thai restaurant and reflects a chance meeting between a married man and a single woman. The second example below is the composition created to precede the second one-act.
These productions were presented in Actor Theatre of Louisville's 318-seat Bingham Theatre.