The Understudy

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

Teresa Rebeck's The Understudy is a romp through the world of actors trying to determine what life is all about through the metaphor of a "put in" rehearsal for a hit Broadway play. The wrinkle is that this particular play is an undiscovered masterpiece by existential novelist Franz Kafka and stars two action heroes from Hollywood.

The two principals are one of the "movie stars" and an underemployed actor hired to be the understudy. The third person on stage is the stage manger, a former actress and fiance of the understudy. Character number four is the unseen technician, Laura, who appears to be smoking something other then Marlboros and randomly pushing buttons on automated scenery creating chaos onstage and adding to that already in the lives of the actors.

Director Michael Haney, asked that the scene shifts be "Kafkaesque" which for me meant "senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity". The scores for the transitions were composed from gears, chain drives, solenoids, switches, electric doors, clicks, grinding and slamming metal doors. Each scenic unit had its own tune and they were orchestrated to underscore the moving scenery that,except for the automated table, was totally silent.

For the first time in my career I created sound for silent scenery rather then trying to cover the sound of noisy scenery.

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