The Time of Your Life

CCM University of Cincinnati

The director for the production, Diane Kvapil, is an actress/teacher with a long career in American theatre. At the core of this production of Time of Your Life was her love for the period in which Saroyan wrote and her desire to provide the young actors in the training program with the experience of his style.

In line with this approach, all of the music used in the production was carefully sourced to the time period of the play and the sound effects were kept to a minimum. The effects were located in space using multiply small speakers in order to support the illusion that they were being created by and coming from the objects on stage associated with them.

There are numerous references throughout the action for The Missouri Waltz to be played on the coin-operated record player so a speaker was added to the unit sitting on stage. Several period recordings of the song were tried until the one most suited to the timing of the scene was found. The sounds of the marble machine were either made by the prop itself or created and played back from a speaker mounted inside the unit. Telephone rings, a song from a music box and the recurring doorbell were also located as closely as possible to those objects.

A good deal of the music for the show, including all of the underscoring called for by the playwright, was produced by a talented jazz piano student using a piano on stage. He took on the roll of Wesley and made the music a part of the rehearsal process. The result was live music beautifully integrated into the action. The director and performer carefully selected the tunes used in the show so that the music flowed seamlessly with the actors.

The tunes for the music box and the marble machine were specified in the text. I researched the songs and provided period recordings so the pianist could record the tunes into a sequencer. Using MIDI, I was then able to work with different voices until I found the one perfect for each moment.

The marble machine plays an active role in the production and working closely with the prop master, Jamie Arielle, and the actor, I created the sound of "winning" the game using the playwright's description as a guide. Jamie's addition of a small burst of confetti as the finale was the perfect ending for the moment.

Example Cues Slide Show Marble Machine Win Marble Machine Malfunction

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