At Montgomery Theater, sound design for a non-musical production encompasses both music and sound effects. Yes, I just said that there is music in a non-musical production. At Montgomery Theater, I like to break down the music aspect of a production's sound design into three categories: House (or pre-show), Transition/Incidental, and Curtain Call. Transition music is, simply enough, music used as a bridge to transition from one scene to the next, or the transition from a non-show state (such as intermission) back into the performance. Incidental music, in my opinion, is music that plays to support the action on stage. It can triggered by an onstage activity, such as an actor "playing" a CD, or it can just exist to underscore a key dramatic point. In either case, incidental music often (but not always) leads into a scene change and so becomes the transition music as well.
Here is the playlist or "soundtrack" for our production of Boney Kern:
- "The Homecoming" by Hagood Hardy *
- "I Can See Clearly Now" by the Holly Cole Trio
"Prelude: The Last Line by Lizanne Knott**
- "Make It Go Away" by Holly Cole
- "Julia" by Shelly Berg
- "Julia" by the Beatles ***
- "Apocalyptic Love Song" by GrooveLily
- "Nothing is Good Enough" by Aimee Mann (from Magnolia soundtrack)
- "Julia" by Sally Harmon
- "Fantasia" by Ketil Bjornstad & David Darling (from Epigraphs)
- "Jennifer's Song" by Hagood Hardy * +
- "Prayer for the Unrequited" by GrooveLily
* Song specified in Daly's script
** Pulled from the playlist
*** Modified to provide an instrumental intro
+ Modified (see below)
"The Homecoming" is the lead-in to Act I. "Apocalyptic Love Song" provides the transition from intermission into Act II. And "Prayer for the Unrequited" is our curtain call.
"Jennifer's Song" is one of those incidental pieces of music. The character of Julia "plays" it for Boney on her CD player. Once she starts it, it plays through the rest of the scene and then it becomes the transition music into the blackout and the next scene. This song had to be modified in two ways: first to strip out an intro that consisted of footsteps, and second to loop it so that we could ensure we had enough music for the whole scene and the set change during blackout.
Perhaps I'll post individual entries to explain how I used an application called Audacity to make the modifications to "Julia" and "Jennifer's Song".
UPDATE (02/23/2007): Updated the playlist with artist links.