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The Importance of Sound in Theater

The Importance of Sound in Theater

24 May, 2018  /  by admin

Just like writing, acting, directing, and lighting, sound plays a critical role in the success of any great theatrical production. Sounds works synergistically with the other elements of the performance to help captivate the audience and bring them into another realm. By itself, sound functions as a key technical aspect in any acclaimed performance. To better understand the importance of sound in theater, we’ll explore the multi-faceted role of modern sound design in theatres today.

Establishing the Time, Location, and Cultural Context

When you stop and think about it, you’ll realize just how commonplace sound is in our everyday lives. At virtually every moment, you can hear new sounds coming in from the background and flowing into your ears. There are rarely ever complete moments of silence, and if they are, they are usually few and far between. This background or scenic noise you hear is oftentimes described as ‘soundscapes’ in the theatrical setting. Soundscapes can be effectively utilized to support designers in recreating a location, time, and cultural context. It can reflect social, historical, and climatic contexts to reflect a deliberate, thoughtful story being expressed to the audience.

When recreating any great theatrical performance, sound designers give a significant amount of thought to the location, the time period, genre, and venue of the performance. The sound of an automobile in 1920 sounds very different from a sports car driving down the highway today after all.

Setting the Mood and Atmosphere

Moving an audience to feel a particular way is critical to keep their attention. Different sounds one hears on stage are commonly associated with different moods and emotions. The right combination of sounds can create for suspense and fear, while others can influence an audience to feel excited and celebratory. Slower tempos can sadden us, while heavy beating drums can suggest that tragedy is in the air. Utilizing various music and sound effects at specific moments can heighten the mood and enrich the atmosphere.

 Serving as Exposition

In the world of theater, not everything can be shown on stage; you need to leave some room to the imagination and understand that you do not have perfect Hollywood-studio effects at your fingertips. This means that sometimes during theatrical performances, actions are happening off-stage and you also need to prepare audiences for new, upcoming scenes behind the curtain. For this purpose, sound plays an integral role in serving as exposition. With realistic sound effects such as gunshots, doorbells, and telephones, sound can clearly alert audiences about what to expect in the upcoming moments on stage and help them make that mental transition quickly and seamlessly.

Design the Perfect Stage with the Help of SSRC

By establishing the context, setting the mood, and serving as exposition, it is clear that sound plays a critical role in enhancing the overall experience of any theatrical performance. In many ways, the success of your next performance rests upon your ability to design a captivating, quality production from start to finish. For handling the technical aspects of lighting, your stage and delivering sound throughout the venue, choose SSRC. We have over 30 years-experience working in the industry and have become a leading manufacturer based right here in the United States. To find out how we can best equip your stage, call us today at 864-848-9770.