Stories Up Close: SFX at Lifeline Theatre in Chicago
This month, Stage Research welcomes sound designer, Victoria DeIorio. Victoria has her own freelance sound design company out of Chicago and has received two Joseph Jefferson Citations for Outstanding Sound Design for Around the World in 80 Days and The Shadow, both for the Lifeline Theatre in Chicago. Victoria shared with us her recipe for success for Around The World and how SFX helped her arrive at standing ovations and critical acclaim for her sound design.
Lifeline Theatre is a 99 seat Chicago Non-Equity Theatre. Its artistic ensemble of writers, directors, designers and performers collaboratively develop literary adaptations and original theater. Because the adaptations are from novels, they tend to be large in scope. This is why we call our shows Big Stories, Up Close.
introduced to designing sound at Lifeline with a production of Around
the World in 80 Days; where, literally, we traveled around the world
in two hours. Since the theatre is relatively small in its playing space;
sound, lights, and ingenious sets and costumes really create the world
of each adapted novel.
|With 80 Days,
I had 3 mini-disc players, and 1 CD player for playback. There were 230
cues in the show, which meant that there was more than one cue per minute.
This is an accurate model of all the shows I design in this space.
Since we adapt novels, the changes happen through our 2-week preview process up until opening. Tech has always been a non-stop working environment for me, with notes galore for the operator, in order to fine tune exact moments. In the 4 years that I have been a part of the ensemble, I have never had a dinner break. And in the past, there have been some cues that were never executed correctly, that I had to let go, due to the impossibility of my grand ideas.
to this, the rotating operator schedule. First of all, since this is a
non-equity theatre, operators’ commitment during tech has been a
little shaky at times. And secondly, Lifeline Theatre has extended runs.
And sometimes these long runs extend even later than originally planned
due to popularity. The only drawback to this is a constant revolving door
of sound operators.
preview process allows for perfecting your design while changes constantly
abound. We solicit responses from the audience and also every ensemble
member comes to a show and gives their input. Every night there’s
a production meeting that can be hours long at times (depending on the
issue at hand). Every ensemble member’s input is taken into account
and then weighed against what is necessary for the best interpretation
and what is possible to get done within the allotted time.
I got a dinner break, my changes were effortless and the show remained
consistent. The normal tweaking was done by my hand, and remained intact
in the computer. Operator notes at the production meeting that used
to go on for hours suddenly did not exist. The nausea of over-working
throughout the tech process was gone. I only had to concentrate on designing
the show. We had a replacement operator this past weekend and it went
off without a hitch.
You can find out more about Victoria's sound design as well as her original music at her website.