Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wiley and the Hairy Man has opened!

This weekend Wiley and the Hairy Man opened! Whew! It seems as if it's been a long time coming and an enormous amount of work. The show is fantastic - really fun and innovative. It's been one of the most creative projects I've ever worked on. I always love working with John Graham, the director. He's one of the most collaborative and creative directors I've seen.

I helped design all the sound for the show. We brought in George Grant as a special guest artist who taught the cast how to Drum Talk, which is vocal percussion and improvisation. After George left, it was my job to review the rhythms that were set with him and create more. Every member of the cast contributed to shaping the sounds in the show. I love that.

Another fun thing about the show is that the set, lighting and costumes were all student designed. Here's a tree getting a fitting with the costume designer. The technical aspects of the show are really amazing! As a student, it's a great opportunity to get to have such an impact on a show at a real theatre.

Here I am ironing the tree skirts (can you iron burlap?) As a student, you are involved in all aspects of the show from acting to nailing together the sets. I can now weild power tools with aplomb!

The remaining show times are September 20, 23, 24, 25, 27, 30 and October 1 and 2 at 7:30. There are also Saturday matinees (9/25, 10/2) at 1:00. You can get tickets at 801 863-PLAY. There might be a buy-one-get-one-free offer if you're bringing kids too. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 3, 2010

"BE"coming Wiley

The world was created with a word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

In the Koran it says:

To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth; when He decreeth a matter He saith to it: "Be"; and it is. (al-baqarah 2:117)

Cultures the world over believe in the creative power of the word. It is found in their creation myths and folktales. It is found in their rituals.

In Wiley and the Hairy Man, we are the speakers of words and the creators of worlds. Through word and sound we create setting, mood, a moment of palpable fear, a child’s nightmare. The cast worked with musician George Grant who taught us not only how to make cool swamp sounds and vocal rhythm patterns, but how to be composers. We learned how to listen. When you come to show you won’t hear swampy chirps and croaks; you’ll hear conversations – many created improvisationally in that moment. Effects – Images – Harmony Pods – Ostinato Choir – Framing Patterns – Pulsing – Overtone Chanting – these elements and more are techniques that we employ throughout the show to create the world inside Wiley’s head.

Come play with us for:

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams” (Willy Wonka)

Wiley and the Hairy Man playing Sept. 16th - October 2nd, 2010
Noorda Regional Theatre Center for Children and Youth
Utah Valley University

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wiley and the Hairy Man

We started rehearsals this week for Wiley and the Hairy Man at UVU and it is different than any other production I've ever been involved in. I am the assistant director and am there to help design the sound for the show. George Grant, the creator of Drum Talk ( is coming tomorrow and will work with the cast all week. Drum Talk is a unique way to improv music. He teaches a basic skill set and then shows you how to use those elements to layer rhythms and sounds with a group. Some of the rhythms will be notated and set and others will always be improved live throughout the show.

I thought our director, John Graham, was brave to let George and I use such an unheard of, free-style method with the show, but then I saw how John worked this week with the movement for the show. John uses a very similar technique with movement based on the Viewpoints. The two fit together like a hand in a glove. I can't wait for George to meet John tomorrow and watch them work all week.

There are also elements of Bunraku puppetry in the show. This form of puppetry comes from Japan and uses people dressed in black to manipulate life-size puppets. There's been some work with puppeteers manipulating live people as well. We will be using elements of both in the show. To get a little taste, you can watch the You Tube video above. On Saturday, we had races down the hall with two people running in mid-air. Now you don't see that everyday!

I'm going to try to take pictures and video and document the progress of the show on the blog... so stay tuned!