Posts Tagged ‘Sound Design’

“A” is for ACTOR! from Cynthia Booker

In Assistantship, Cynthia Booker, Sound Design on October 29, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Sometimes actors are the biggest troopers! This past week in techs I watch A LOT of rain fall. I was freezing and huddled up next to a heater. I even developed a nice cozy blanket tent to trap the heat for the most part. But no matter how heavy the rained poured or how cold it became, the actors walked out and performed their roles every time the stage manager told them to go. On the coldest night at the moment with the heaviest rain, an actress needed to do a quick change into a very light, thin dress. Not only did she perform the quick change, but she stood there for the next 30 minutes freezing in the soaking dress while the designers perfected their cues. I was in absolute awe of the actresses’ commitment, determination, and sacrifice. Almost all the actors trooped through the weather. The only time we waited out the rain was when the scene involved several children and it was obviously a small rain cloud. It is absolutely amazing what we artists will endure for the pleasure of sharing our work with the world, especially actors. Even though designers and technicians work tirelessly to create a piece of work, it is the actors who are standing there in front of the audience who are criticized for every movement, word, and even absence. Being an actor is to become completely bare in front of a group of strangers, who may or may not be your biggest fan. It is something I’ve always admired. As of now, I can firmly say I couldn’t do it. There is a strength there that I lack. That I wished I had. That I wish I could feel the reward of being successful at it. Until I can I achieve that, I am content to be happy for those who proudly take that risk and change someone’s life in the process. I will still strive to be a part of the unseen population working toward enabling this process.



“Bittersweet” from Cynthia Booker

In Assistantship, Cynthia Booker, Sound Design on July 24, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Cynthia Booker 7.24

It is so bittersweet to be leaving this Monday. I have found great joy and pride in my work here at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I have had to honor of working with five production, four designers, 3 spaces, nine fabulous sound technicians and engineers, and numerous theatre artists. I have also had the most pleasant summer weather I have ever experienced. I’ve been surrounded by a beautiful town with exquisite scenery. I have been challenged. I have grown. I have been blessed. The transient nature of working in theatre has always had two faces to me. You have the side where you can’t wait until it’s over and then the glorious side where you could wait a life time before it finished. I hate to leave this prosperous, vitalizing community but I know my current tenure has lapsed. I have to climb the next step on my path. But I am still holding out hope that one of the steps in my future leads me back to Ashland. I hope to return someday in any capacity to this cultivating company. In my first blog, I shared that I hope to find a home here in Ashland. I have indeed found a home branded in my heart and soul. I will carry the lessons with me throughout my life. After all, home is where the heart is. The people I have come to know, especially in the sound department will always hold my respect and admiration. Thank you Oregon Shakespeare for a beautiful experience.


“Back in Tech” from Cynthia Booker

In Assistantship, Cynthia Booker, Sound on June 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Back in Tech! I’m so excited to be back in this mode! It’s a new production and a new space for me to be working in. I feel like I’m adapting to the Thomas Theatre space quicker than I adapted to the Elizabethan. I’m not sure if that is because I’m familiar with the OSF sound department now or if I’m more used to spaces such as the Thomas. Either way I am definitely walking into this tech more comfortable than the last three.

We’ve had an exciting past couple of days! There are two giant important abstract scenes that are repeatedly being reworked for the best. Due to the rep system, we can’t be flexible enough to execute the original thoughts on these scene, so the director, playwright, and design team have been brainstorming other ways to illustrate the same ideas, while cooperating with the systems already in place for current running productions. At this point in tech I think they have come up with a brilliant compromise that enhances the scenes more. I’m excited to see the rest of the play and the collaboration in progress! I definitely feel privileged to see these artist think, create, and recreate. I feel like other occupations don’t allow you to become as vulnerable as theatre does. It is a true gift to be a part of.

“Slow, Rainy Days” from Cynthia Booker

In Assistantship, Cynthia Booker on June 19, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Slow, rainy days. That is what the past few days have been for me. Since we’ve opened up the Elizabethan shows and we don’t load in for Liquid Plain until this weekend, our week in the sound department has been pretty simple. I guess it’s a nice little break before things get crazy again. I’m itching to do more again. I don’t do well with idle time. I can’t read enough or watch enough. I can’t walk through the park enough. I guess I’m just a boring person in my down time. It could be worse though. 🙂

This rain drives you to curling up with a book, which makes this weather well planned until Saturday. On Saturday is when things really pick up with our Liquid Plain load-in. We need to install speakers with their cables in the dock and drop shot-gun microphones from the ceiling. It will be my first chance at OSF to do some wiring, which makes me excited! When I arrived in mid-May they had already set up everything for tech in the Elizabethan, so I didn’t really get a chance to immerse myself in that engineering process. I can’t wait! But I should enjoy this little gift of relaxation while I can. I’m going to open my window and let the melody of the rain lull me into a relaxed state.

Cynthia Booker

“A Tale of Two Designers” from Cynthia Booker

In Assistantship, Cynthia Booker, Sound Design on May 21, 2013 at 1:02 PM

It’s been a whole week, however, I feel like I’ve lived through a month. Every evening I have been in techs for the three Elizabethan productions for this season. I have the opportunity to work with two different designers. I’ve never teched three shows simultaneously, so that in itself is interesting. Further, I am working with two different designers. The most fascinating observance I have made is how both designers are polar opposites and how each production environment is completely different. The two designers I am currently working with are Sarah Picket and Paul James. Paul James is sound designing Cymbeline and The Heart of Robin Hood. He is very independent and seems to have all his thoughts written on an invisible black board directly in front of him. He is very intriguing to watch work. He kind of reminds me of how Tony Stark works in his laboratory with his digital information floating around. He just sort of reaches up and pulls what he needs out of the air. Each of his designs he approaches differently. With Cymbeline, he has a very close and open relationship with the director, so he is able to work more organically. He seems more at peace with this approach. With Robin Hood, he has to be very prepared and precise due to the large number of cues and the director knowing exactly what he wants. I was surprised at the difference in one artist in the same space with a different production. It really illustrates a great example of why we as artist must stay flexible with each production process in order to best serve each production fully.

Sarah is designing A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She is much more controlled in her design than Paul James. She was very quick to assign an immediate task in order for me to assist her. I believe she truly enjoys investing in my sound design knowledge. I wasn’t surprised to hear that she is a professor. Paul James is also really great at telling me why he made certain choices within each design and sharing his development as a theater professional. It’s interesting to see the differences between the academic and the freelancer. I’m learning much from both designers. I can also feel myself settling in and feeling more confident with my work here. It’s very relieving. J Douglas and the sound staff have also been really encouraging and instructive in the engineering and technical side of things. I’m definitely adding more skills into my rolodex of knowledge.

“A Whole New World” from Cynthia Booker

In Assistantship, Cynthia Booker, Sound Design on May 15, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Wow! It’s so fun to be thrown into a whole new world and environment! There are so many new faces, names, and places to learn. For the next for months, I have been blessed with a place to call home and invest in the town and the people. This is day two of work for me and so much has happened. I feel as though I have been here for a week already. I was wrapping my head around everything I learned and everyone I met yesterday to have it settle in my brain.

I was absolutely amazed at how welcoming the staff is and how excited they were to meet me. I do feel like this will feel like home within a couple of weeks. I was so excited last night to start in my role as Sound Design Assistant. I became giddy once I started to be utilized. I also really respected the love the staff in the sound department have for their jobs. It’s amazing how happy these guys can be when they are presented with a new problem. I know I will learn much this summer both in sound and also how to enjoy life with a positive spin.

It was also really nice to be able to make the move across the country and not have to worry about furniture, utilities, and searching for an apartment. This something that has been a constant for me this past, so I feel really blessed and thankful to not have this worry. So, here’s to learning and growing in a new home with new people! Cheers!


Cynthia Booker 5.15

“Handwriting or Typing?” from Cynthia Booker

In Assistantship, Cynthia Booker, Sound Design on May 6, 2013 at 1:16 PM

I like paperwork. Call me nerdy, but I thrive off of it. Maybe it’s the stage manager in me or maybe its just the academic who likes things notated in a proper fashion. I get so excited when someone tells me that I’m responsible for cue sheets and such. I’m probably one of few who take joy in discovering new (to me) ways to make Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel easier. I was trying to remember the actual act of learning HOW to type. I just did it. I remember taking “keyboarding” classes in order to learn how to type more efficiently. This gift of ease with typing I feel is a new thing.

I notice when I’ve seen my little siblings or nephews/nieces homework that penmanship really isn’t emphasized that much in grade school. I try to physically write as much as I can. I usually never type notes unless I can’t find a paper or pen. I think it is quite sad that it is a romantic idea now to actually write someone a handwritten letter. But I also take great joy in paperwork, well-laid out and easy to navigate paper work. I would never dream of handing someone a handwritten cue sheet. I think this is how I separate personal notes from business/public notes or paperwork. In twenty years, will my way of doing things seem antique? I don’t know, but this is how I do things now. I do them with great joy like the nerd I am.

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