Friday, February 27, 2009

Whenever I feel afraid I hold my handy wreck

I'm working away and things are coming together in the current project. Going straight on to another project after that, then probably about another four in a row (I have quite a pile of scripts here) after that. I'm still not entirely sure that I can/should name these projects publicly - especially not now that some people seem to be getting here from the Big Finish forums - so I won't.

So I'll write about something else entirely that has been one of the three things taking up most of my time lately: an amateur production of The King and I. For new readers, one of the things I do is sound and music for amateur theatre. It's not normally a great challenge in the little building we generally use because the actors can be heard without the need for amplification. Sometimes we do special live effects, but mostly I'm playing back stuff I'd created at home earlier and so it's playing things back at the right time and in the right order. One of my proudest moments was from the production of Jake's Women where I was providing one half of a conversation between Jake and his subconscious, and we got through it without massive gaps between lines or the wrong lines being played (what did most people comment on in that production? That the phones always stopped ringing when someone picked them up).

The King and I will be a different container of limbless vertebrate altogether. It's taking place in the high school, which I had managed to stay out of for over eight years until last November, which has a wider but shorter stage than we are used to. It also holds about double the audience, and some of the actors are going to need electronic help with projection - particularly in the musical numbers to be heard over our extended band.

For reasons I'm not about to go into, rather than the normal theatre way of each principal actor having a carefully hidden microphone and radio pack, we are using long shotgun microphones of the sort normally hidden in wind-protection resembling dead cats and used for outdoor recording. There will be four of these, plus any other suitable microphones I can lay my hands on at short notice to cover the stage. We don't want all of these microphones on all the time, or the sound will be a mess with phase problems, so I shall likely be spending the whole show turning things up and down depending on who is talking and where they are standing. In describing it to a friend I compared it trying to play a three-hour song in Guitar Hero where the coloured markers keep moving around before you have to play them. It's going to be a challenge to say the least, and I'm hoping there won't be a knock-on effect for the paid work as it's traditional to catch a cold or flu after a week of performances.

At least when this show is out of the way, I don't have any more theatre stuff planned until the panto rehearsals begin.


Audio Time Team said... know you can trust me. Sure I can't even get a hint as to the BF stuff you're working on?

Matthew Cochrane said...

Nope because I get into trouble for that kind of thing now that people are actually reading my blog.

Although I was tempted to ask you about what they played from Company of Friends at Gallifrey - was it the same clips as were used on the Big Finish Podcast?