Noise Floor

I am in the theatre for a show opening next week, doing sound levels.  For those of you that don’t know, the process of getting everything going in the theatre for a play involves each design department (sound, set, video, lights) having some dedicated time in the theatre to do their thing*.  In my case, it involves making sure the speakers are hung in the correct locations (based on a speaker plot I submit beforehand), having the PA tuned and rung out, the microphones (if there are any) checked and the sound cues set to a level that will work for the actors (usually this gets tweaked as we work through “tech week” and previews before the show opens in earnest).

The sound tech is in the amp room downstairs and there is no one in the building.  And yet the sound is ever present – the ventilation systems, electrical dinguses, and who knows what else.  It is always disappointing to me to re-discover that silence does not lie outside ourselves.  But then I tune into my environment and enjoy the sounds that are present – besides these systems there is traffic outside, a streetcar going past, 2 friends talking that I hear as a murmur.

There are compromises in this world, ones we negotiate and internalize everyday, without even knowing it.  The best thing I guess is to just embrace them, work with them, allow them to be part of the dance of your experience.  I’ll be practicing this today.

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*This is before the actors come onstage.  Prior to this, they usually rehearse in another room with a minimal sound system, the important props and tape on the floor to show where the set will be.

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