Arms and The Man

Viterbo University, Weber Center

Director Trevor Walker's approach to this production of the GB Shaw classic was to provide a traditional take and give the performers a chance to experience Shaw. What this meant for me as a sound designer was that the number of cues would be limited but that each must support both the romantic and comedic nature of the piece.

My research into the period found that there were no major Bulgarian or Serbian composers active during at that time. So in order to highlight the romantic nature of both the play and the 1880's I chose to use the work of a Viennese composer, Oscar Straus.

O. Straus was most famous for his operettas which include The Chocolate Cream Soldier, his retelling of Shaw's play. Although the operettas were of little use to me, given the to be expected vocal lines in every song, I did find a collection of his waltzes and orchestral compositions which fit the production perfectly. I used marches to end each act with lighter more romantic, yet full and rich, pieces for the introductions to the three acts.

Trevor requested to hear the electric bell which was such a source of pride for Catherine, the mother, in the play. At first I thought this was a bit odd until I realized he was using it as a comic moment during a love scene between Sergius and Raina as well as for Catherine herself in Act Three. We also added a slow clock ticking at the top of Act Three to emphasis the boredom of the characters in the act's opening moments.

Example Cues

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