If I had it all to do over again…
And, as it turns out, I do.
I’ve been doing sound design for theatre in and around Chicago for about seven years. It’s a little strange that in that time I’ve never had to design the same show more than once (I have re-mounted shows, but that’s different). I know lots of designers who have done multiple productions of the same show over their career. I almost had two back-to-back productions of Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure last year, but the director of the second production changed his mind and put up As You Like It instead. At the time I was actually looking forward to the challenge of doing one show, then immediately tossing out everything I’d just come up with and starting again from scratch. For good or ill, it didn’t go down that way.
This summer, though, I’ll finally be re-visiting a show I’ve done once before: Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth. I did sound design and music (with a little help from Beethoven) for Oakton Community College’s Macbeth in 2008, and now Moraine Valley Community College is putting it up for their summer show. Not quite back to back, but it will still be a new challenge.
The upside is, I already know the show pretty well. The downside, of course, is that I still have associations that tie my previous design to the show. I generally avoid looking at other versions of a show (or filmed versions) when I’m working on it, to avoid stealing. Maybe this time I should watch a couple of movie versions of Macbeth, just to cleanse my palate.
One thing I know is going to be different is that on this show I am going to explore Tonehammer’s new Waterphone sample library to create the music for the show. That will definitely give this production a different sound and I’m pretty excited about it.
Designers and directors, please chime in: how do you approach a second –or a third or fourth—production of the same script? Do you worry about repeating yourself? Do you embrace the possibility of trying stuff you wish you had before? Do you ever deliberately recycle?