3rd Place Sound Design - SETC 2021
Clarence Brown Theatre, Knoxville, TN
Scenic Design: DJ Pike
Lighting Design: Kaylin Gess
Costume Design: M. Hromek
Sound Design: Tate E. Thompson
Photos by DJ Pike, Kaylin Gess, and Tate E. Thompson
Everyman follows the journey of the character Everyman as he learns to let go of earthly goods and desires in order to find salvation before his death. As he does, he is met by various allegorical figures representing either ideals or warnings of the Catholic Church. This play, although most likely written in the 15th century, was still being performed throughout the early 16th century, a time when the Protestant Reformation was gaining prominence, and many were questioning and breaking away from the Catholic Church. One of the most notable discrepancies in Catholic teaching is the preaching of modesty and humility. This is in direct contrast to cathedrals being decked out in gold and the hypocrisy that one could pay indulgences to wash away sins and guarantee themselves a spot in heaven.
Our world of Everyman is inspired and informed by Tudor England, but pokes fun at this religious double standard by presenting the play as a comedic, extravagant “bardcore” musical experience. Using contemporary pop and rock songs from the past 50 years, we created a musical extravaganza mash up of 16th century England and today. The distance in time period as well as the music will allow for an accessible experience to this Medieval morality play for modern audiences.
To support the comedic tone of the production, I re-orchestrated popular songs which were chosen by the team to fit each thematic moment in the play. Individual descriptions are found in the attached video. The contrast between pop songs and traditional Tudor instrumentation led to comedic, intimate, and electrifying moments. The growth from an intimate play to a large-scale musical required the decision to design a flexible sound system for natural reinforcement and pop concert volume. This was achieved through the blending of concert and musical theatre systems.