I was riding home on the subway last night and I noticed that a person sitting more than half a dozen seats away from me had their iPod turned up so loud that I could have danced to the music - I could have - but I didn't. At the time I was pouring over my Phantom of the Opera script and found the music a little … distracting. But then I began to ponder how technology has changed our ears expectations. In an eara (yes I know it is era but I couldn’t help myself) where music is served to us on a techno-platter, how does the ear and mind respond to acoustic sound? Has it become so foreign to our generation that it is almost new?
At the Players Theatre there is a concert series called Music on MacDougal and almost every concert is chamber music. A small group of musicians playing their instrument acoustically, the way our ears were meant to hear them. The design of the Players Theatre is perfect for acoustical sound, instrumental and vocal. Michael Sgouros, the composer of the new Phantom of the Opera, once remarked that he felt the work we were doing at the Players Theatre was Chamber Theatre. It’s true and I like it. We are all so used to the amplified sounds of Broadway musicals and films – we rarely have an opportunity to hear the sounds of the natural voice and instrumentation. We are somehow cheated of the natural interaction between the artists and the audience.
I know in a large Broadway theatre amplification becomes necessary in many cases, but that is the gift of our production of Phantom at the Players Theatre; in a 180 –seat house we can interact with the audience on an intimate level of sight and sound. The audience will hear sounds authentically, the way it would have sounded in 1881 at the Paris Opera House. I’m excited and so are my ears!
Until next time … Be Bold!