C’mon Becca, let’s have all the news!
(Because it’s been a while since I’ve done this.)
Anyway, as the first few lines would suggest, I’ve been hard at work all summer as a mic technician (or “A3”) on the new production of “Les Misérables” currently playing at Dallas Theater Center. I’ve been having a great time getting to know a new city, getting good at driving (who knew this New York girl had it in her!), and learning what it takes to do this whole Deck Sound/A2/Mic Tech thing. While I’ve worked on musicals before in various capacities, it’s my first time being “on the floor” as a member of the Sound department, and I think I’m starting to get the hang of it! The most important things I’ve learned, I think, are mostly reinforced lessons from past shows, but I’ll repeat them nonetheless, maybe just to ingrain them into my own head more!
1. Sometimes the most useful thing you can do is GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY.
2. (converse of 1) Only exist when you need to. Be a ninja.
3. Learn your people, ESPECIALLY if you’re new in a place where everyone already knows each other. Feel out your place, and don’t get discouraged if it takes a little while.
4. Tensions are going to be high enough without your help. So don’t help it! Get good at “microphone clinical” and people will do whatever they can to help you solve the problem at hand.
5. WARDROBE ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS AND ALLIES. Respect them and their show needs as you try to solve yours.
Most of this is average “first professional gig” stuff, but I think the more I’ve been able to take it to heart, the more I’m on my way to becoming a really good A2, and eventually earning enough stripes to become an A1!
And, speaking of becoming a really good A2, I’m going to get a chance to do just that on my next gig! I’ll be heading back up north in September to be the first ever Audio Apprentice at Goodspeed Musicals, serving primarily as the A2 on their production of The Circus in Winter. I can’t wait to get started.
As far as portfolio fodder for this show goes, I wasn’t heavily involved in paperwork or load-in, but I’ll post a PDF of the index cards I made for my “track.” Click the Portfolio section if you’d like to see!
More news soon as I attempt to catch up on posting work from other projects 🙂
of the end! I’m writing this as I head into my final three weeks of undergraduate schooling at the amazing Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. There is plenty still left to do: I’m stage managing a production of The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney (details here!), finishing up some interesting class projects, and of course, looking for jobs and wondering what’s next! After those three weeks there’s a class trip to Los Angeles to showcase my work and meet with industry professionals, a big party to celebrate CMU Drama’s Centennial year, one more end-of-semester critique, and of course, GRADUATION! It should be an exciting time, and I’m going to head into it with my game face on. Look for more updates here as things progress!
(photo credit: the bygone beyonceinamerica.tumblr.com)
This piece was composed in the style of Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company for a hypothetical design of the short play Catastrophe, written by Samuel Beckett. I imagined it as a prelude to this preparation of a play, hearing an orchestra tune up, getting the audience into the mindset of being at the theatre, but then abruptly reminding them that it isn’t all fun and games here.
(the drawing that serves as the cover art is also a Becca Stoll Original)
This is a sample from my design for Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, directed by Tony McKay at Carnegie Mellon.
The design concept for this production was that while Miller’s written words speak for themselves, the transitions between acts were used to shed light (and sound!) on the playwright’s allegory, comparing what happened in Salem in 1692 to what was happening in the US in 1953. To achieve this, I created my own blend of eerie natural soundscape combined with music that, at the time, was responding to the heated political climate of McCarthyism: movements like minimalism and musique concrète in classical music, and composers like Morton Feldman, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, John Cage, and others.
At the end of Act One, as the girls of the town begin shouting the names of persons they have allegedly “seen with the devil,” their voices begin to reverberate around the audience and engulf them in the chaos. When the excitement finally reaches its crescendo, a character onstage sounds an alarm bell, the lights dim, and a line of actors move to the front of the stage and sing the hymn “Jesus Shall Reign” while the set changes behind them. Finally, the loud bells and chaotic winds give way to a peaceful, serene soundscape, and the lights come up on the house of John Proctor, where we begin Act Two.