By Cliff Caruthers, Sound Designer for the Strindberg Cycle
As we near the finish line, opening all 5 of the Chamber plays in three weeks, I’m beginning to get some perspective on the somewhat terrifying process of finding the heart of each of these plays. Each is a quixotic puzzle, requiring a fresh approach. All distinct, but of a piece – easy to say. Obvious, even. But when confronted with a stack of scripts and a relentless schedule, I admit to being completely overwhelmed.
It’s not the first time I’ve felt that sensation, and squelched the desire to panic and run as if stalked by a large-toothed predator. But this time the teeth seemed particularly large, the pursuing tiger particularly ravenous. At night, restless dream mashups of characters and scenes interrupted my sleep. An unfocused soup of Strindberg imagery and meaning flowed through my mind like so much flux.
So I sat down and made some music, and tried to internalize all of these feelings without worrying too much about what it was it for, for which scene, which play even. That felt good. The next day I played some of what I’d made for Rob. “It’s beautiful. Which play were you thinking of?” “Not really sure?” I replied. “Storm, I think.”
And so it went. Finding the voice of one the five plays, I started to see a path into the rest – each play a facet that sets off the others. The feeling of panic began to subside. Until the next time I looked at the schedule…