The Mountaintop

by Katori Hall

Dir: Akin Babatunde

Dallas Theater Center

2015

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Photo credit - Karen Almond

This is a show that was once described to me as “a very simple one setting, two character show and then at the end it opens up into the universe.”  The big reveal needed to be mind-blowing and unlike anything else that had happened in the show.  We placed 3 pairs of surround speakers over and behind the audience that weren’t used until the end.  Panning from the front to the back, along with moving projections, created the sense that the universe was exploding around and past the audience.

 

That scene included a long monologue in which various events throughout history are mentioned and portrayed with projections.  Working with projections designer Chase York, we used QLab to vamp and revamp sections of the underscoring music so that it could adjust in time to the live actress and still match up with all of the sound and projections.  I was able to use live and recorded reverb and delay effects on the actress's voice to allow certain words of her monologue to ring and echo throughout the theater and around the audience.      

 

It’s also the only production I’ve worked on that led to rehearsal decisions regarding if and how long Martin Luther King Jr would have washed his hands after using the restroom.

Reviews

Chris Jackson

The Column

“Sound design by David Lanza is used throughout to create atmosphere, provide punctuation and paint aural images that fill in the background of the story. From the radio simulation before the show to the constant rain and truly terrifying claps of thunder, I can’t imagine the play without this skilled soundtrack.”

 

Jessica Fritsche

D Magazine

"Lighting by Alan C. Edwards, sound by David Lanza, and projection design by Chase York create an atmospheric experience that immerses the audience before the curtain even goes up."

 

Alexandra Bonfield

Critical Rant

"Set designer Bob Lavallee, lighting designer Alan Edwards, sound designer David Lanza and projection designer Chase York create a surreal mind-blowing reality out of a simple, stark motel room"