By Kelsey Heathcote and Caroline Hawthorne
Kelsey Heathcote (Sound Designer)
When we first read On the Verge as a company last year, I knew immediately that I wanted to do the sound design. This show is so fun and whimsical, and I knew that it would be very challenging. When we started the tech process Michael Dixon, the director, read the production team a list of qualities that he wanted to represent the show. A few of the words on that list were: imaginative, mythical, curious, whimsical, and surprising. Caroline and I went to work and began breaking down the show with this list in mind.
As with many other shows, sound is used in a multitude of ways in On the Verge. One of the most important jobs of a sound design is to tell the setting of a scene. On the Verge passes through several very different locations such as beaches, jungles, and mountains, so establishing place was a major goal. We also worked hard to find sounds that would tug on the audience’s emotions, as well as their attention, during the monologues from the ladies to help focus on the important details that are discovered. One of the hurdles we jump constantly in sound design is adding emotion to the moment without distracting the audience or actor. Sometimes that rule is meant to be broken! Several scenes are built around popular songs, and are meant to be a comedic break to focus on the whimsical nature of the show.
This process was a huge learning experience for Caroline and I. I am very glad we were able to work together and face the challenges head on. On the Verge is a delight, and it was an honor to work with this very talented team!
Caroline Hawthorne (Assistant Sound Designer)
I was interested in helping Kelsey sound design for On the Verge, mainly because I have always been fascinated by how sound affects theatre. I will also be sound designing the apprentice capstone project, The Fox, so I wanted to gain some hands-on experience before we began working on it. Although I did gain new skills during this process (such as working with Q-Lab, the program which runs all of our sound), the main thing I gained through the process was an appreciation for those who work behind the scenes. As an actor, I work with people in technical disciplines, but I very rarely get to step into their shoes. With this experience, I have a greater idea of how theatre works as a whole, which I will always take me with, no matter what I am doing.