Smoke

On the edge of a reservation, on the edge of a river, she risks love and family to claim her heritage...
  • By Vickie Ramirez  
  • Director:   Richard Avan
  • Stage Manager: Liz Richards  
  • Costumes: Lux Haac
  • Lighting: Amanda Clegg Lyon
  • Set: Sarah Martin
  • Produced by Mixed Phoenix Theatre Group at The Pershing Square Signature Center. 
  • Sky Woman, a spiritual character, played by Soni Moreno. 

    Sky Woman, a spiritual character, played by Soni Moreno. 

     In Smoke, a play about contemporary Native American identity conflicts, sound was primarily tasked to aurally distinguish moments of supernatural intervention from normal earthly  existence. Such supernatural scenes were associated with two specific characters, each of whom were assigned a sonic theme. Following early research on Haudenosaunee theology and music,  these themes were carefully embedded and blended within river ambiences by using a custom convolution processing workflow. This technique allowed spiritual characters, their supernatural actions, and nature itself all to become one. 

    Act 1 ends in a large thunderstorm and building fire, an exciting opportunity to collaborate with lighting designer Amanda Clegg Lyon and set designer Sarah Martin.  For this effect, dedicated speakers were hidden behind a set piece made of acoustically transparent material. This was then lit to appear on fire, an effect made all the more believable by carefully sourced sound.  

    In a Word

    Two years have passed since Fiona’s eight-year-old son mysteriously vanished. As Fiona goes back over the events she remembers leading upto that fateful day, logic buckles and language breaks.

    "In a Word" was a new, award-winning play by Lauren Yee that workshopped at The Williamstown Theatre Festival under the direction of Ethan Heard. In this show, sound served to clarify the complex, nonlinear progression of time over the course of the play. Throughout the show there are flashbacks to various locations - a detective's office, a grocery store, or a school - each defined largely via sonic means. 

    The design utilized a quadraphonic 'rep' system to its fullest extent by dynamically panning flashback sounds, accelerating them from the stage to behind the audience, essentially pulling us back in time. The system's cababilities were also harnessed to create a photographer character from prerecorded voiceovers reproduced behind the audience as the cast posed for their photos in front. 

    Photo by Sam Hough

    Photo by Sam Hough

    • Director: Ethan Heard
    • Playwright: Lauren Yee
    • Lighting: Matt Bathe
    • Set: Ryan Grossheim
    • Costumes: Steven Buechler

    Cautionary Tail

    First generation Chinese-Americans growing up in New York City, siblings Vivienne and Luke confront their confused tangle of family, their diverse array of friends, and their rampant sexuality. In our digital age, how can they navigate the traditional expectations of their mother with their American culture of individuality?

    Example 1: Original music cue into the second act jungle setting accompanying a short dance\scenic transition. This material was generated by sampling obscure ethnomusicological field recordings and then rearranging and layering them to create a new piece. 

    Example 2: An excerpt from an original music cue built from sampled iPhone interaction sounds to accompany movement into a "social media scene" choreographed by Laura Brandel. 

    Transient
    • By: Christopher Oscar Peña
    • Director: Ben Kamine
    • Movement: Laura Brandel   
    • Costumes: Andrea Lauer
    • Lighting: Jon Cottle
    • Sets: David Meyer
    • Produced by The Flea Theater