Songs for a New World
In a digital show, things are run a bit differently. Take all the live work our performers have practiced over a quarter’s time and attempt to capture all the beauty and nuance in one single recorded video. Especially virtually, we should give more appreciation to the unsung heroes of the show, who work to make sure all the technical aspects are up to par. Among the team, meet Celine Tsoi (Audio Engineer), Ryan Puterbaugh (Video Editor), and Zev Marx-Kahn (Vocal Director).
Celine has toured around the world in a choir for quite some time but decided to take a visit to the other side of the stage. With previous experience mixing for her acapella group, she was referred by her friend Kinjal to help out. Compared to her other audio work, she loves how much more organized the process is. When asked “What’s the coolest aspect of working on pre-recorded clips vs. miking live sounds,” she replied “The power to change the recording :)”
Before Covid, Ryan mostly acted, but had some experience running lights, calling cues, and building sets when the crew was shortstaffed. He’s excited to get back to it, but in the meantime decided to help out with video editing. When asked “What has been the most time consuming part of video editing?” he replied “Subtitles were definitely the most time consuming part, but I discovered a much more efficient way of doing them with .srt files that should really speed up the process. So now it's probably going to be aligning the dancers to the correct beats in the large numbers like The New World.” Here are some of his other comments on working virtually: “As an actor, in-person tech rehearsals were a pain, simply because there often wasn't much for you to do. The few times I was a techie though, those rehearsals flew by because of how busy the whole crew was. Opening night of an in-person show was always a rush, especially hearing the murmuring of the audience die down right before the curtain opened. I don't particularly dislike any part of the online process, but it does constantly remind me of what things used to be like, and sometimes that makes me a bit sad. But hey, we'll be back in person eventually!”
As vocal director, Zev views it most challenging not being able to work with singers in person! “I can’t hear them as well as I’d like to over zoom. But they’ve been so amazing and made my job pretty easy overall! I’m so proud of the work they’ve done.” Virtually, he has been able to take advantage of making piano tracks of all their harmonies along with the cast album to help learn the score and saving lots of time teaching music in rehearsal. When asked “What’s something you won’t take for granted again in the future?” he replied “I will never again take for granted the ability to work with a live band and other live singers! It totally changes the game to lose that in-the-moment interaction.”
Tell us about your character!
Jerell: “I’m a “sexy and loyal” French maid who spends half of her time screaming and dramatically gasping, so basically I’m playing myself! Quarantine and getting ready to graduate and thinking about the future have all been really rough on me, so I really appreciated getting the chance to lose myself in this silly character. The French accent is also a fun throwback to my first major role in a HOOLIGAN show (Chef Louis in The Little Mermaid), so in a way it feels like everything’s come full circle.”
Kinjal: “My character is Miss Scarlet and she’s a strong, confident, independent, intelligent, young woman who’s able to flirt her way through life. She has no tolerance for incompetent people, nor those with inflated egos. Moreover, she’s willing to do anything to get what she wants.”
Why should people come see Clue?
Lisa: “The actors are performing LIVE! Our amazing stage manager Kayla has gone above and beyond in designing the livestream layout which allows us to rearrange the actor's videos to simulate scene changes, entrances and exits, and other surprises!”
Emily: “I would encourage anyone who has seen live theatre before to come see this show. We all miss being together in the auditoriums, performing on stage, but theatre like this is so unique and so creative. Even for those who have never seen live theatre, this is different from any movie or TV show you'll watch on screen and I'd encourage them to check it out!”
Jerell: “Come to Clue to get a real LIVE theatre experience, to laugh your butt off at some really talented people, try to crack the case of the killer of Boddy Manor, and—most of all—to see me in a maid dress ;)”
Kinjal: “People should come to see Clue because it’s the perfect way to engage in live theatre again. While we may not all be in the same space, we’ve created a show the emulates in-person theatre as much as possible. Furthermore, the cast and crew of the show have worked so hard to create this amazing show so it would be really great to be able to support them! Plus, everyone could use some more laughs in their life, making this the perfect show to watch while taking a break from everything else in life!”
Join us any of three livestreams of Clue at Home, starting tonight, Friday March 5th at 8 PM PST!
Lisa, this is your first time directing rather than being on tech--what is it like being on the creative team?
Lisa: “It was so helpful having the experience of being on tech before being director. I am familiar with some of the typical challenges in the communication of creative vision and responsibilities between the director and tech, and I think that made our production process much more cohesive and synergetic."
What are rehearsals like over Zoom?
Lisa: “As expected, directing over zoom is very different. One interesting adaptation is that rehearsals consist of a lot of explaining to actors "you are talking to this character, who is on your right" and "make sure you exit to your left" because everyone is performing on a different stage and can't always look at one another for reference. It's a unique challenge that I think the actors have overcome in a way that looks effortless but definitely took a lot of practice and memorization on their part. It's very nice that I can stay in my pajamas too.”
Emily: “The rehearsal process has been fascinating, if a little bit lonely. I definitely miss the small interactions and friendships you make during in-person rehearsals, but over time, communicating through Zoom has gotten a lot easier. However, seeing the ways technology has factored into our show is amazing. Of course, it's not as dynamic as a three-dimensional stage, but our stage manager Kayla is doing amazing things with the performance software to make us move all over the screen.”
Jerell: “Zoom rehearsals are definitely weird and not super ideal most of the time— it’s very hard to do physical comedy with someone through a screen! Still, there’s some upsides, it’s nice to go to rehearsal in pajamas lol.”
Kinjal: “Zoom rehearsals were strange at first. I wasn’t sure how they would compare to the in-person rehearsals that I was used to. But over the course of the show, we all got to know each other better and zoom rehearsals started to feel more like in-person rehearsals. While I still miss being able to hang out with people in that time right before and after rehearsals, I really like that zoom forces all of us to talk together instead of letting us break into small groups of friends the way in-person rehearsals do.”
Any memorable moments during the rehearsal process?
Lisa: “My favorite part of the process is when I finally stop talking and get to listen to everyone's ideas about the play. There's a lot of trying to break down who these characters are, reading between the lines, and finding new ways to make moments even funnier. There's also a lot of laughter at this strange story and its characters.”
Kinjal: “One of my favorite parts of the rehearsal process was Body Building day (think the equivalent to a build day). It was the first time I felt like we really bonded as a cast, which is why it was one of my favorite days. Another one of my favorites was doing Cue-to-Cue during tech. Usually, Cue-to-Cue is super tedious and tiring, but it was the part of tech week that felt the most like in-person tech and was just really really fun because of that.”
Emily: “My favorite rehearsal so far was the first time we integrated our pre-recorded sound effects into the show. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard at the sound of a pre-recorded scream.”
Jerell: “I really enjoyed the first day of tech, because it reminded me of the in-person tech days I’ve done before. Everyone was joking around and the vibes were great, it was almost like we were all in the same space together!"
Check out part 2 of this post to find out why you should come see Clue at Home, and don't forget to tune into the livestream starting tonight, Friday March 5th at 8 PM PST!