Heathers: The Musical: Summer Sound Tech

The Heathers was a tumultuous experience that spanned from May 23rd to July 3rd. We had two dry tech and two wet techs. I was the Sound technician, which was an unfortunate title because it meant no one knew what I was doing or who I answered to, and I was doing a lot. Fifteen actors on stage with the band was an intense process and I definitely had to be focused for every page. I never had a perfect show, but I did my best. I learned a lot about what I can hear and what various effects can do for a show as well as how to communicate errors and concerns to the correct people. The greatest difficulty was bridging the gap of what the theatre thought I knew and what I actually knew as well as being able to multitask when things went wrong or something didn’t sound right. Trying to focus on actors who decide to deliver their lines differently every night is a demanding job. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, but it was stressful. Previews were a nightmare as I had only run through the show once prior to that and I was still working on my book and my notes. This was the worst part of the production by far, much of that due to my inexperience. However, I was able to find the Heathers soundtrack, and I practiced to that with my book and board. Once I was able to practice, I was much more confident.  I wish I would have programmed scenes for the band so that each song could have been handled differently, I think that would have helped our ballads and rock songs be more distinct from each other. I was also running cues on top of my other duties.
 I think this was a positive learning experience for me. There were a couple people who were extremely difficult to work with, and the previews were definitely stressful. I wish that I had had an A2 because I was definitely doing enough without having to worry about the monitors, mics and things breaking. I understand a little why some sound designers really like musicals and why some do not, I think I would like to design one someday because it seems like there is a lot of room for creative ways to support the story. I was surprised to go to a prominent show in town and hear the same problems I was having at the Unicorn and realize that perhaps it doesn’t matter so much what the budget is, but how you use the equipment. Now that I understand some of the fundamentals much better, perhaps I’ll be able to design one myself.

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