Metamorphoses

Claire Trevor Theatre
University of California, Irvine
2014

Midas (Colin Nesmith) washes himself clean of his lust for gold and riches

Background

For Metamorphoses, playwright Mary Zimmerman adapted ten of Ovid’s original myths to tell stories about the human propensity for love, lust, greed, and faith. In accordance with ancient Greek mythology, characters in Metamorphoses experience change, redemption, forgiveness, and transformation at the will of the gods. Metamorphoses tells these stories through a combination of ancient and contemporary language and imagery. Most productions of this play incorporate water on stage as a symbol of transformation, however, in our production, we relied more heavily on lighting, sound, and music to symbolize important themes.

Musical Concept

As composer, I blended classical instruments with electronic textures to build a world where the characters and the audience could explore the connection between myth and reality. I also paid close attention to recurring themes. For example, percussion rhythms would always indicate the presence of the gods or their influence over the mortals. The gods’ power was reinforced by larger-than-life sound effects and vocal processing by sound designer Matt Eckstein. Matt and I ensured that sound and music worked together to build a cohesive universe where mortals would experience profound transformations at the will of the gods.

The Team

Director/Choreographer: Annie Loui
Composer: Brian Svoboda
Sound Designer: Matt Eckstein
Scenic Designer: Vanessa Fusi-Hoblit
Lighting Designer: Brady King
Costume Designer: Leanna Moore
Photography: Paul Kennedy

Sound Samples

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

Alcyone is Transformed

by Brian Svoboda | Metamorphoses

Alcyone is transformed by the Gods int a Halcyon bird. I composed a cymbal swell accompanied by timpani to thematically suggest that this transformation happened by the will of the Gods. At the apex of the musical crescendo that follows, Ceyx lifts his love Alcyone, and she “flies” across the stage. I imagined what wind would sound like if it were music, and I underscored her journey using an ethereal synth sound to represent the wind. We hear fragments of an upward melody played on the Lyre, as if it were being played by the wind itself.

The Wrath of Poseidon

by Brian Svoboda | Metamorphoses

Ceyx leaves Alcyone to find an oracle at sea. His trip takes a turn for the worse when Poseidon manifests and creates a massive storm. I composed a steady cadence of drum rhythms drums that become more complex as the storm intensified. The steady tempo hints at Poseidon’s unwavering resolve to cause damage. A chorus of strings intensifies the storm sequence even further, culminating in a massive tidal wave crash where Ceyx is overcome by the fury of Poseidon’s sea.

Myrrha is Cursed

by Brian Svoboda | Metamorphoses

Cursed by the goddess of love Aphrodite, Myrrha develops an incestual desire for her father. I composed a complimentary Lyre melody that sounded apprehensive, mysterious, and voyeuristic. The timpani represents Aphrodite’s enduring influence and is eventually joined by an electronic drum beat to give the sequence a sexual energy. At the apex of first crescendo, Myrrha’s father discovers what he has done and tries to kill her. Myrrha flees, but the gods soon find her. As punishment, she melts into a pool of water during the second musical crescendo.

Recent Updates

Sound System Design Drafting

I believe that staying organized throughout a creative process is paramount to the success of a project. I created this post to give readers a sense of this organization. Included below are …
Read More

Making of “Passage Through Fear”

In an unprecedented move to showcase the behind-the-scenes sound design process, I bring you the “Making of Passage Through Fear”. This documentary-style short video examines the creative and . . .
Read More

Making of TSR Part 3: The Aesthetics

In what is essentially the second iteration of this website, I’ve made sweeping visual changes that were precipitated by malaise surrounding the original visual concept. I wanted a website that looked unique …
Read More

Contact Me

The Soul Rhythm The Soul Rhythm
×
Menu