sound design

Debashis Sinha’s soundscape, as naked as the set, sneaks up behind you: is that the subway rumbling beneath me, or is this underscoring the action? Are those sirens, or sound effects?  And the questions this sound design inspires–where does the theatre end and the real world begin?–are far, far more important to this story than I can express in this review.

Megan Mooney, Mooney on Theatre

In sound design for the stage, two sets of questions have to be dealt with simultaneously: those addressing logistics and those addressing storytelling. The job of the theatre sound designer and composer (who are often, but not always, the same person) is to highlight aural characteristics that are integral to the play (for example, the environment in which the play takes place), and also to help develop the arc of the play, the emotional journey of the characters and the Id of the story. I find the challenges of using sound to deal with staging and transitions as satisfying as creating, composing or finding new sounds and textures and turning them into collaborators in the performance of the text. A story can be read many ways – it is strongest when it is open, allowing many streams of interpretation at once. To discover and present these streams to the viewer through sound is my job.

While Glory is often kept in a Therapeutic Quiet Room (read solitary confinement) the soundscape of Debashis Sinha suggests constant noise of one thing and another—that works wonderfully.

Lynn Slotkin, The Slotkin Letter, on the Vancouver production of Watching Glory Die

Radiophonic art is also a kind of theatre, a theatre for the listener wherever they might be.  The lessons from the theatre stage often make themselves felt in the composition of these stories.  The rhythm of the text. where and what becomes emphasized are decisions I get to make when making these works, and the theatre artists (and musicians and dancers and choreographers and filmmakers) I have collaborated with over the years participate through the moments I sculpt as a composer.

…Astonishing and inspiring. You have found an adventurous form between music, philosophy, and radio.

Marcus Gammel, Redakteur Hörspiel / Klangkunst, Deutschlandradio Kultur on The Light

I don’t know what the future holds in the world of technology and how it will impact the world of storytelling, nor what it might mean for my practice as a sound artist or my life as a citizen of the world.  I do know that my staying aware and thoughtful will continue to be integral to my being an authentic artist, though, and I hope that I can maintain my open-mindedness whatever the challenges that this brave new world will bring.


Selected sound design and composition credits include numerous works for Peggy Baker Dance Projects and productions with: Young People’s Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, Project Humanity, Theatre Passe Muraille (Crash, his sound for which won a Dora Award), inDance, Tribal Crackling Wind, Canadian Rep Theatre, Volcano Theatre, Pleiades Theatre, MTC Warehouse and Necessary Angel.

listen to ds on soundcloud
agent: ian@catalysttcm.com

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