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Romeo and Juliet
written by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Twelfth Night
Juliet

ROLE
DATE
COMPANY
THEATRE
CITY
DIRECTOR
ATTENDANCE
PERFORMANCES
  SOUND DESIGNER/COMPOSER
JULY-AUGUST, 2007
LAKE TAHOE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
SAND HARBOR
SAND HARBOR, NEVADA
SHARON WINEGAR
18000
20

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Overview  
Director Sharon Winegar placed this production of Romeo and Juliet in the mid-18th Century, in a Venetian-like town during Carnivale. I immediately began researching music from this era and location. I sent some of my findings to the director for her to comment on. These included Sonatas from the period for both violin and recorder. Despite this historical setting and my suggestions for period music, she replied, “I realized while listening to these that I'm hearing a more contemporary 'sound' in my head. Less harpsichord/recorder -- more Mark Isham. I'd like the music to feel a bit modern and robust. If my 18th century concept works in terms of sets/costumes, it might be nice to offset the 'precious' or 'filigree' factor by a more orchestral, film-score sound.” She continued to say, “I must admit that I'm drawn to having a 'Cirque du Soleil' -style soundtrack for Romeo and Juliet, not necessarily for the singing/choral work, but for the "storytelling" elements of the music: the changes in theme, tempo, the dynamics. The heavy drum beatings of taiko-a-la-Cirque really get my blood flowing!” This inspired me to create some contemporary sounding cinematic music for the production.

I acquired the “Ka” album from Cirque du Soleil and analyzed certain songs suggested by Ms. Winegar. These included, “Pageant,” “Storm,” “Deep,” and “Aftermath.” She made sure to point out in an email to me, “Now, I don't literally want to use this music -- it's just that these tracks best exemplify the kind of mood/atmosphere I'm imagining!”

Before traveling to Lake Tahoe to install my design, I created some fully realized mockups of potential music and sounds for the production and sent them via email to the director for her approval. Her response to me read, “Oh, yes! It's wonderful! That's definitely the sound I'm after for the show. It has great driving rhythm and a very muscular pulse. One suggestion for some fine tuning -- if the drum beat could have more of that taiko sound?”

For me as sound designer and composer, this request for taiko drum was a big clue for me for better understanding what Sharon wanted to hear. I began researching this instrument and its sound. I came across several Taiko recordings that I dissected in order to better understand how to recreate the sound. I even sampled some single Taiko drum hits in multiple velocities that I could trigger with a MIDI keyboard.

The result of this process was a score of sounds and music that stood in contrast to the historically accurate costumes and setting, giving the production a cinematic feeling.
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Example Paperwork
Help

 
cue list   cue list
Cue List   Work Notes
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Sounds
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CUE 4 CAPULET'S THEME

This piece precedes the introduction of Capulet. In this scene, Paris asks Capulet for Juliet's hand in marriage. Capulet's theme promotes wealth and high society.

CUE 6 ROMEO, BENVOLIO, AND MERCUTIO
This piece of music accompanies the entrance of Romeo and friends carrying torches through the streets on their way to the Capulet's ball. During this scene, Romeo speaks of a dream he has had foreshadowing an untimely death. This composition denotes movement through the streets, wind through fire, and heavy hearts.

CUE 14 JULIET'S THEME
Juliet awaits the return of her nurse with news from Romeo. After teasing Juliet about the news, she reveals to Juliet that she may secretly travel to Friar Laurence's cell to marry Romeo. This composition reveals the scene and reflects Juliet's anticipation and distress.

CUE 18 OVERTURE
This overture plays after the intermission leading into the fight scenes resulting in the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt. This composition is a direct result of research and analysis of the music suggested by director, Sharon Winegar. It starts with the sound of Taiko drums and then launches into a repetitive and driving string pattern. This overture is a sort of musical journey, presenting a combination of several musical themes from other moments in the production.

CUE 25 FRIAR'S THEME
This composition underscores action between the Friar and Romeo. In Romeo and Juliet, Friar Laurence propels the action of the play, serving as a sort of mentor for Romeo. In this scene the Friar counsels with Romeo to suggest he travel to Mantua to wait for Juliet.

CUE 28 JULIET'S WEDDING THEME
This theme provides transition between Juliet's acquisition of the sleeping potion from the Friar and her visit with the Capulets to proclaim that she has decided to marry Paris.

CUE 34 NURSE'S DILEMMA
As Capulet sends the nurse into Juliet's chamber to wake her and prepare her for Paris' arrival and the pending wedding, this music underscores the action. The Nurse discovers her in such a deep sleep that she assumes Juliet is dead.

CUE 39 THE CRYPT
This composition introduces the final scene of Romeo and Juliet and is a musical metaphor for the crypt. The scene opens with Paris visiting Juliet's grave.
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Production Photos  
photo photo photo photo photo
The Nurse brings news to Juliet of Tybalt's death. Juliet briefly reviles
Romeo.
Lady Capulet grieves over the body of Tybalt Tybalt and Romeo face off in the town square. Tybalt and his
retainers challenge
Romeo in the town
square.
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