PQ Theme: Urgent – The Storm Front
From ICT’s Website “In Pearl Cleage’s powerful historical drama set at the turn of the twentieth century, four African-American women journey west to the town of Nicodemus, Kansas to seek the freedom promised by the end of the Civil War — only to be challenged by the harsh and unforgiving terrain, the social climate of the time and the men who claim to be with them for love. A contemporary classic about the strength of black women and their role as pioneers in the settlement of the American West.”
Flyin’ West was produced at International City Theatre (ICT) where I am the resident sound designer. Saundra McClain directed the production. During the first designer meeting Saundra and I started the collaborative process and riffed on ideas about the world of the play. We talked about nature and the wide-open space. The music would flow like the wind. Nature and music would become one with each other and the play. My inspiration was Thomas Newman’s “In the Bedroom” score, and Saundra was delighted with the inspiration. I started to move forward with the design and brought in an assistant sound designer/composer, Kyle Swafford. Together, Kyle and I developed the sound for the world of the play. Kyle and I then developed a demo track to share with Saundra. Saundra loved it and Kyle started to build the production stems of the music. Once the stems were completed I mixed the music in the space using the different stems and arrangements of the music with the sounds of nature to create the world of the play. The theory of the music was to start the play with one stem, one instrument and to add more stems to build the music to parallel the play’s dramatic action until the end of the play when the song became complete. I have included some examples of the arrangements bounced from the Qlab workspace to demonstrate how the stems were used in this production. From start to finish this production had great communication, collaboration, and all the design elements helped to tell the same story.!