Brandon Walker, Sound Designer
(they/them) is a working actor, director, playwright, designer, and producer in NYC, also serving as Producing Artistic Director of The Seeing Place Theater since 2009. Favorite sound designs include: Animal Farm, I Am My Own Wife, The Hysteria of Dr. Faustus, The Laramie Project, A Lie of the Mind, The Pillowman, Measure for Measure, Macbeth, Othello, and Hamlet. More info is available at www.seeingplacetheater.com
How can sound be layered as much as possible throughout the play without becoming a nuisance or distracting for the audience?
"It's an interesting question to answer, always. I think that sound is an area of design that more and more people expect, largely due to influences from film and television. There are always traditionalists that prefer not to have heavy technical intervention when it comes to theatre. Personally, I tend to prefer work that is fantastically real, as opposed to naturalism. As such, my sound designs tend to be very filmic and underscore most of the plays I work on. I try to keep them as simple as possible. Mostly, it's important that the sound not become too crowded. It should be a help, rather than a hindrance. That becomes even more complicated when it comes to working online. Often times lately, I have to cut elements simply because Zoom can't handle it or because we don't all have state of the art technology. With all of that said, I have also been in the position quite a few times where audiences were just unwilling to see a play from a certain angle, sound-wise. Really, it's important to keep in mind that all art is subjective. You can't please everyone. We all have an audience out there. Some have bigger ones than others."
- Brandon Walker, SD
CHECK OUT THEIR WORK.
Sound Inventory List
4 Meyer UP Junior
2 Meyer UPM 1-P
1 Meyer UMS Subwoofer
1 Onyx 1640i Sound Mixer
1 t.c. Electronic M300 Dual Engine Digital FX Processor
1 MOTU 828mkll USB interface
1 MacMini 2018 OS 10.14
1 Dell Monitor with appropriate adapters to above Mac Mini
1 Apple keyboard / mouse
1 TASCAM MD-350 Mini Disk Player
1 DENON DN-T620 CD & Cassette Player
1 Shure SM58 Wired Microphone
1 Shure SM57 Dynamic wired microphone
Various songs and effects
Qlab Professional licence
Sound CUE list
Sound Design for EURYDICE by Sarah Ruhl
Basic Concepts for Design:
- A space inhabited by music. Most of the sounds of the underworld were created using detuned guitar slaps and scratches. These sounds express a world falling apart. They were then further detuned in editing to be brought into the bass range, sometimes even creating water sounds in the haunting, creaking, and shaking underworld. The idea behind the use of strings here is based in the string room, which I envisioned as being made out of musical string from various instruments, and the sounds represent the unstable room rusting, bending and breaking under the surrounding pressure and the wet atmosphere of the musty, dripping sounds that serve as a percussive background. There are various hums and drones, which were also created from detuned and repurposed guitar notes and feedback.
- Orpheus’s Symphony is a theme that is replayed throughout in bits and pieces, created using the repurposed, slowed, and detuned score for Twelve Bars by Gustavo Santolalla. There are so many sounds at once that it’s hard to keep track, and though it’s probably only one or two guitars actually playing what we hear, the sound is so full that you couldn’t possibly add one more note. It also seems to represent the chaotic world inside
the genius mind of Orpheus. I also found a medieval, Celtic, acapella song that was slowed and detuned to represent the Orpheus’s humming.
- Eurydice’s music was created largely out of new sounds and instrumental recordings of old songs that were found by random artists online, playing largely solo and then repurposed in the slowed and detuned versions heard here. In moments of memory,
they are also overlayed with drones created from guitar feedback that is also slowed and detuned. The memory piece that is played throughout is taken from Aphex Twin’s “#3” on their album, Selected Ambient Works, Vol. 2. The music is then also slowed and
detuned to further express the longing for home and the way things were. The Father then listens to the same music as he disassembles the string room. “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” here is a detuned and slowed version of Dave Brubeck’s cover and
represents a feeling of nostalgia.
- The pieces shared on this website represent a few important moments of the play:
1. Orpheus’s 12-String Orchestra
2. Eurydice Falling into the Underworld
3. Example of the Underworld Creaking (detuned guitar scratches)
4. Example of the Underworld Shaking (detuned guitar slaps)
5. Orpheus at the Gates of Hell (humming)
6. Father Deconstructing the String Room (Eurydice’s theme)
7. Remembering the Wedding in Hell (“Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”)
8. Into the River of Forgetfulness