As You Like It

Robert Cohen Theatre
University of California, Irvine
2014

The As You Like It band and foley artists sing “Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind”

Background

Director Jane Page set this Shakespeare classic in the culturally-rich world of New Orleans in the late-1800s. Our concept was to create an overarching “storybook” aesthetic. The artistic team wanted this world to feel fun and light, exaggerating the absurd script and the playful, love-struck characters. This particular production included the creation of a new character – a Fairy Godmother who used “voodoo magic” to influence the characters’ decisions in ways that highlighted the coincidence, absurdity, and serendipity inherent to the play.

Sound Design Concept

Composer Mark Caspary and I crafted period-inspired music and sounds that pulled the audience into the storybook world. Since the Fairy Godmother masterminded characters’ motivations and passions, we thought it would be interesting to also make her the “band leader”. With her a band of merry musicians in tow, the Fairy Godmother played guitar, initiated the three scripted songs in the play, and contributed underscoring for many scenes. Musicians were coached extensively by Mark, myself, and Dr. Gary Busby. We also trained the band to perform live foley, making them an integral part of the sound design. The band mocked, exaggerated, and provoked the characters’ personal affairs using live music and foley.

Sound System

The Team

Director: Jane Page
Sound Designer: Brian Svoboda
Composer: Mark Caspary
Musical Direction: Dr. Gary Busby
Scenic Designer: Morgan Price
Lighting Designer: Darrin Wade
Costume Designer: Leslie Stamoolis
Photography: Paul Kennedy

Sound Samples

For the best listening experience, please use high quality headphones or speakers. Audio files are in uncompressed WAV format.

Orlando vs. Charles the Boxer

by Brian Svoboda | As You Like It

Mistreated by his older brother and frustrated about his inaccessibility to his father’s inheritance, Orlando challenges Charles the Boxer, the court’s renowned wrestler, to a duel and miraculously wins the match. Our artistic team transformed this boxing match into a magical event that unfolded in a comic sequence of ragtime music, camera sound effects, canned audience reactions, and foley sounds that were performed live.

Weathering the Storm

by Brian Svoboda | As You Like It

Fearing that his niece Rosalind is a threat to his rule, Duke Frederick banishes her from the court. Seeking refuge, Rosalind and her cousin Celia flee to Arden (a swamp in our play). The set magically changes around them as they cautiously wander into the precarious swamp of Arden, where an unexpected thunderstorm awaits. To support this transition, we created music in a minor key and gave it an upbeat, meandering quality. We played some loud thunder sounds that the characters would react to with a sort of farcical concern.

The Fairy Godmother's Magic

by Brian Svoboda | As You Like It

The Fairy Godmother introduces the show with a shower of magic, animating the characters to life with a wave of her wand as they discover their environment. The show then begins in a magical burst of sound that paves the way for a playful world where just about anything can happen through circumstance, coincidence, and serendipity. The tempo, tonality, and playfulness of the music help to define this world.

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