Thursday, May 10, 2007


I've been long absent from this blog. And that means no updates on the work for BOY GETS GIRL which is going into its closing weekend. Maybe it was getting sick with some kind of upper respiratory thing during tech week. Maybe it was the added responsibilities at my day job or the school where I volunteer. Whatever it was ... it kept me off the blog.

But I'm BACK. And BOY GETS GIRL was reviewed in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The show as a whole comes off really well. But my sound design ... not so much:

Adam Riggar's lighting design features the flicker and buzz of overhead office fluorescents between scenes, and the emphasis on this unsparing fixture helps assert the play's themes. However, Riggar's dated office set, paired with the music chosen by Brian S. Weis, give the false and distracting impression that this is a mid-'80s period piece, and only when laptops and cell phones appear do we realize the action is happening in the present.

Still, these issues are quibbles with what is a solid production of an interesting piece.

Yes, I've said before that I don't work for reviewers. I work for the director, the cast, and the audience. All of them have had nothing but praise for the sound design. In fact, after opening weekend, the director told me:
"[T]he more I listen to the music in BOY GETS GIRL, the more I appreciate your sense of aesthetic. You made some brilliant selections in building a sound track for this production."

Still, I want to address a few issues with Ms. Rosenfield's "Mid-'80s period piece" comment:
  1. A cell phone is used in the very first scene. During that scene, the actors discuss Internet dating sites. I should note that, at this point, only one song has played, an updated instrumental version of "Every Breath You Take." (Update 5/11/2007: I just saw the show again last night, and they do not mention dating websites; they talk about personal ads. I can probably assume they mean ads on websites, but I won't go there without dialogue to back it up. So, I've crossed out the Internet dating site comment. Sorry!).
  2. I did a count. Of the 18 songs used in this production (and I decided to exclude the "Jeopardy" theme because it is more a sound effect than a musical transition), four of them were released in the '80s. Two were updated versions of songs originally released in the '80s. And the remaining 12 were recorded after 1990.
  3. Of the post-'90 songs, one is from 1991, two are from 1998, and the rest were recorded between 2000 and 2006.
  4. Regarding the four '80s tracks: Three of them are obscure songs by The Cure, and the fourth is by Lyle Mays, longtime keyboardist for the Pat Methany Group. Only instrumental clips were used. Unless Ms. Rosenfield is a big fan of The Cure, which is possible, I don't see how she could have pigeoned any of these songs as evoking the '80s.
  5. The two updated songs used in the production were newer, instrumental recordings of The Police's "Every Breath You Take." Yes, this song was originally released in the '80s. I already mentioned the first use in point #1. The second "Every Breath You Take" comes in Act II and it is a deconstruction of the song by jazz improvisation masters, The Bad Plus. Both "Breath" recordings were made post-2005. How is this indicative of the '80s?
  6. "Every Breath You Take" has taken on a timeless quality, and I challenge you to find a better song about stalking.
  7. This last note is pure conjecture or speculation on my part. The office furniture, which is first seen in Act I Scene 2 and is featured in many scenes after that, looks more like a school office furniture than high end magazine publisher furniture. And maybe that swayed the reviewer in the final analysis. I don't know.
Now that I have all of that off my chest, let me repeat that I'm not too worried about getting dissed on the music. I knowingly offered tracks that ranged from the 80s up through to the "modern" era of music. And, it's just my opinion, but I only submitted an "older" track if I was damn sure it was appropriate and worked for the mood of the scene. It is extremely rare to find a film soundtrack that has only "contemporary" works on it.

As noted in my list, the music selections range in time from the 90s to more recent recordings.
And though they come from jazz, fusion, gothic ambient, etc., they can all fit nicely in the category of modern eclectic. We probably got slapped for using "Every Breath You Take." And I almost resisted using it because it is so well known. But the more I thought about it, the more I opened up to it. There is just no another song that is more singularly associated with the act of stalking, but that can still lull the listener into feeling that 'Hey, maybe this is a love song after all.'

In the final analysis, I am happy that the reviewer recognized the actors for their fabulous work in pulling off this risky production. The music is, after all, just window dressing to help the audience through transitions.

This is the last weekend to see BOY GETS GIRL. Go get your tix now!

Through May 12

call or email
to reserve your seats!


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