The Sound and the Story

I’m still figuring out how to even talk about the last few months. Despite the fact that I don’t feel like I’m grieving, I’ve had a practically pathological avoidance of anything to do with Gram and dealing with her death. This avoidance has snowballed to include most forms of communication. And writing. So I’ve been throwing myself into other forms of creativity. Christmas gifts got crafty with my two year old, I’ve experimented with recipes and made more sugar than my family can possibly eat, and why did no one remind me how soothingly meditative friendship bracelet making is?!

Related: my local salvage and surplus store is a dangerous place to go with new craft store inventory.

But largely I threw myself into theatre. Specifically sound design and operation for A Christmas Carol. I am so proud of our show, and since we had sold out audiences for five of our eight shows, I’d say my pride is validated.

One of our standing ovations. We had the best audiences.

When the theater is over an hour’s drive away, I have to really love a show to make it worth the investment of my time and energy. With a small child and the logistics of childcare and managing her energy levels and responses to disruption of routine, finding that passion for a show is harder than it used to be. (This is community theatre, after all, so I don’t have the added incentive of a paycheck.) But this show.

This show was art.

The script was a direct adaptation from Dickens with near-limitless flexibility of cast size and composition, used by theaters locally for many years. We had a cast of ten with everyone except Scrooge rotating through characters and narrators. Minimal set and costuming, phenomenal directing (her first show as a director, too!), gorgeous lighting. The whole production was one of those works of art that made me fall in love with it every single night.

I could have arranged for someone else to run sound. That was actually the plan at one point, but I was able to get childcare for every night and damn I needed to be there. I needed to be a part of this theatre family and not some distant, removed person breezing in and out.

This was my second time designing sound for a show and the first time doing more than providing whatever sounds the script calls for. And I loved it. I got to be one of the storytellers in this collaboration and I feel so lucky and so thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of it. The choreography, the actors, the script, the lights, the sound all told layers of the story and they came together in a way that was pure magic.

As a writer, I’m so used to bearing all that weight of the story alone that there was a relief and release in having responsibility for just a part. There is power in successful collaboration. To use a cliche, it becomes something greater than the sum of its parts.

And I got to tell a story through sound. How cool is that?

Cross-posted from my Patreon. I’m still getting into the swing of things, but if you like what I write and want more stories or behind-the-scenes stuff, I would really appreciate your support!

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