Macbeth at Indiana Repertory Theatre
by Paul Estby

Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis mounted a modern setting of Macbeth on their Three-quarter thrust Upperstage in March 1999. The Space has recently been renovated with state of the art technology. Lighting has been updated to ETC Obsession and DMX controllable effects units. The sound system consists of a 3-D capable surround environment. Yamaha 03d digital console, TOA DX0808 matrix units 8 in x 16 out, Lexicon MIDI controllable effects processors, and Stage Research's SFX Show Control software are used in the production. The recent production of Macbeth gave us our first real test of the true capabilities of the system.

Click on image to see a larger version.

The production updated Shakespeare to the '90's--complete with machine guns, laptops, and cell phones. The Soundscape rivals that of most SCI-FI movie thrillers. Tons of underscoring, fast paced entrance and exits, and 'bump' highlights are used in the production. We can safely say that without SFX's capabilities and programmability, the show would still be in Tech. 

The system is set up with SFX as the master controller. All sound cues are stored on the PC's hard drive (as well as edited and replaced over the computer network consisting of a central editing/workstation, a playback computer, and a designer's remote laptop running Symantec's PCAnywhere to monitor playback). Playback is four channels into the 03D on which scene changes, and effects are added to the cues. SFX sends scene change commands via MIDI command. Next in line are the DX0808 Matrices which control the output from the 03D to any of 16 possible speaker positions in the house in any number of configurations. SFX controls these 16 scenes of the DX0808 via the RS232 plug-in. Can you see the sheer possibilities of control here? We also run wireless mikes, which required vocal effects for the witches' cauldron scene ("Double, double toil and trouble..."). Each of the witches requires an individual process. These were stored on the Lexicon MPX1. SFX triggers these changes via MIDI. 

The show runs 90min in length. During this time the SM calls over 200 lighting cues and 96 sound cues. In addition to the called cues, SFX runs an additional 98 fades, autofollows, and scene changes to the 03D, the DX0808, and the MPX1. This gives a total of 194 Cues or more than 2 cues every 30 seconds.

Our board op is busy during the show monitoring all of these changes, many of which happen simultaneously.

There are a number of places which lighting cues must be taken at exactly the same time as sound cues. We were prepared to trigger them via MIDI and SFX. However, The Obsession lacked its MIDI card. We are looking to add this in the very near future.

We stand firmly in our belief that without SFX and all of it's control capabilities this show would not have been possible to run with a single sound engineer. Thank you STAGE RESEARCH!!