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sound design

Photos and sound samples from

Frankenstein, Madame Bovary, and Nuclear Love Affair.

slats' sound design has included but is not limited to:

  • Finding, adapting, and/or remixing pre-existing music or effects

  • Composing music

  • Creating effects

  • Live instruments

  • Working with musicians

  • Live sound

  • Working with actors

  • Recording sounds or voices

  • Microphones, both as hidden invisible elements and obvious artistic ones

  • Performing in a sound-related capacity

  • Creating music out of non-musical sounds

  • Creating soundscapes using only what is found on the set

  • Collaging sounds

  • Naturalism

"The music chosen by Toole, which links, defines, and helps carry each scene to the next, is also a starring player."

- Edward Rubin, New York Theatre Wire

 

​Quick audio links:

Frankenstein - Turn Away
Frankenstein - Transition (music by Randall Benichak)
night-song - Sound Solo

Madame Bovary - Fracture

Madame Bovary - Suspended

Nuclear Love Affair - Solider and Wife 2

The Spirit Enters Through Distortion
Walk

 

Theatrical Work

Tongues by Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin

  • The Percussionist used found objects to create a Cage-esque score that supported the voices emerging from the Speaker, lend musicality and journey to the production, and turn monologue into dialogue. Found objects and the theater itself were used to unleash the potential of every object to be an instrument, and add an element of chance as every sound, planned or accidental, became part of the piece. Directing/design work included working with the Percussionist to figure out tone, journey, and specificity of sound.

  • Instrumentation: Folding chair, plastic bag, glasses, water, straw, marbles, metal bowl, spray bottle, zen balls, fabric, zipper, glowsticks, night stand, paper, film slate, whoppee cushion, flashlight, bell, creaking hallway.

The Maker of Dreams by Oliphant Down

  • Four actors cast as the "messengers" underscored the entire piece vocally in order to help the heightened-but-still-familiar language fall lightly on modern ears. Directing/design work included developing musical themes with the actors, finding moments to punctuate physically and vocally, and creating originally unscripted characters and discovering how they fit into the scripted world.

  • Instrumentation: Four voices.

 

Nuclear Love Affair created by Built 4 Collapse

  • For this collage-based theater piece about the effects of the creation of the atomic bomb, the sound design employs historical research and soundbytes juxtaposed and mixed in with modern, aggressive sounds. Collaborated with media design to form a seamless world of video and sound. Voiceover and sound effects provided by a live actor.

  • Equipment/Instrumentation: MacBook Pro, QLab, microphone, drum, triangle, gong, live mixing.

  • Listen to this sample: "Solider and Wife" (follows a soldier and his return from war, playing with an Elvis song that had been used unmodified earlier in the piece.)

Beggar on Horseback by George Kaufman and Marc Connelly
Adapted and directed by Chantal Pavageaux

  • In this glittery, modern adaptation of Beggar on Horseback, Colleen/Slats/"Electric Sunshine" performed the sound onstage, as the visual/aural represetation of the main character's inner artsy composer. The sound was created largely through effects and melody on the electric violin on stage, giving a strong responsiveness and character to the sound.

  • Equipment/Instrumentation: Electric violin, effects pedal, violin amp, voice, MacMini, QLab.

 

Frankenstein 
Adapted by Paul Bedard/Theater in Asylum

  • Both the classic story of Frankenstein and a futuristic tale of the possibilities of the Singularity collided in this heavily dance-based production, with sound reflecting that conflict. The story of Frankenstein was underscored with symphonic music written by a different composer for the show--the modern story was underscored by music written by Colleen created out of hums, drones, beeps and various noises created on a microphone with an effects pedal. The two worlds began to weave together with the symphonic music bleeding into the electronic, and vice-versa.

  • Equipment/Instrumentation: MacbookPro, QLab, music created by a microphone and an effects pedal.

  • Listen to these samples: "Turn Away" (this piece lived strictly in the futuristic world) and "Transition" (this piece blended the classic and futuristic worlds).

 

Madame Bovary 
Adapted and directed by Katherine Carter

  • For this journey into Emma Bovary's mind, sound worked to transition us through the story firmly in Emma's emotional perspective. All transitions were composed entirely for this production.

  • Equipment/Instrumentation: Macbook Pro, QLab, sounds created with Logic and Korg Microkey

  • Listen to these samples: "Suspended" (a moment of pause and reflection after Rodolphe leaves Emma) and "Fracture" (the moment when the public auction of the Bovary Estate is announced)

 

night-song created by Teff Nichols
co-designed with Ryan Maeker

  • A dance installation piece based on haunting stories of a girl's childhood, sound both provided the backbone for the dance as well as danced along with the piece, amplifying and effecting the sounds made by the dancers' bodies and text read aloud. In addition to the main event, installation stations were set up around the room, including individual sound stations experienced on headphones.

  • Equipment: Digital soundboard, Macbook, record player, hidden microphones, iPods, headphones.

  • Listen to this sample: "sound solo" (coming after a moment of high activity, all dance ceased and the sound alone transitioned into the next movement of the piece. While this show was co-designed, this moment was entirely conceived and created by Slats.)

 

The Dispute by Marivaux
Directed by Laura Braza

  • In order to bring life to the slightly twisted Garden of Eden in this production, the sound brought in live elements such as actual leaves, sticks, and rocks, manipulated by actors throughout the performance. The sound linked with character, with the actions they were performing with sound while they were not the main focus of the scene furthering their character's arc. A running water fountain was also hidden to create the sound of the stream referenced throughout the play.

  • Instrumentation: Leaves, dry sticks, rocks, water fountain.

 

Ubu Rex by Alfred Jarry
Directed by Tomi Tsunoda

  • In this viscerally disturbing puppet-show, the sound began in the two-dimensional world of the set, costumes, and puppets, with dramatic chords, entrance music, and epic underscore, but throughout the play slowly transitioned to add more dimension, complexity, and dissonace as the actions and situations became more and more intense. Referenced approximately 250 years of pop culture history, from Mozart to Kanye West.

  • Equipment: MacBook Pro, QLab, four speakers used independently.

 

The Zoo Story by Edward Albee 
Directed by Stephanie Levin

  • In order to subtly signal change without distracting from the text, different kinds of white noises were played at a very low level throughout the show, shifting along with major beats. At the pivotal moment of the show, all noise cut out, leaving a feeling of emptiness in the room.

  • Equipment: PC, Multiplay.

 

The Time of Your Life by William Saroyan
Directed by Laura Braza

  • For this piece, sound took a nearly naturalistic turn, creating the rich environment of the San Francisco bar with hidden local speakers and subtle sound effects. In addition to the work with recorded sound cues, all sounds made within the bar with glasses, tables, etc, becaame part of the soundscape. The live piano in the bar became a major sound element, the when, what, and how of the piano-playing tying together the story.

  • Equipment/Instrumentation: Local speakers, MacBook, piano, glasses, tables, pots and pans.

 

Suddenly Last Summer by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Paul Bedard

  • In this production, the garden became a jungle that overtook the stage and represented the character of Sebastian. The jungle vocally responded to the action on stage using primarily didgeridoo and recorder, except for the long-anticipated telling of the story, which brought its own soundscape with various tin cans as Sebastian relived the traumatizing experience that lead to his death. Slight ambiant jungle sounds were played throughout to help ease the entrance of the instruments.

  • Equipment/Instrumentation: MacBook, QLab, didgeridoo, recorder, tin cans.

 

Sound Art

The Spirit Enters Through Distortion

Accra, Ghana. A piece dealing with the aural alienation of dialect within a language, and how one may always feel like a stranger by sounding so different. Installed in the "Final Call" art exhibition at Abafun Crescent, Accra, Ghana, sponsored by NYU-Accra.

 

Walk

New York, NY. The challenge: to aurally recreate a specific walk around several blocks of New York City, in the most naturalistic way possible. This should be experienced with stereo headphones.