© 2019 Christian Ekren Design

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"RENT"
Director: Adam Pankow
Company: West Fargo Summer Arts Intensive
Role: Sound Designer, Projection Engineer
Time: July - August, 2015

RENT was my first professional sound design and first time working on a rock musical! The overarching design for the show was straight forward - loud and energetic. This was accomplished by augmenting the venue's existing EAW speaker system with four more JBL PRX718s subwoofers near the proscenium (their power LED's visible in the image below.) These helped to triple our low end reinforcement and add sonic impact to the pounding kick drum and bass lines of the show.

Several sound effects were utilized throughout the show, including live

"answering machine" filters for vocalists onstage and various incidental

sound cues such as cell phone rings, car honks, New York ambiance,

and more. One notable sound effect was during Act 2. The transition

between the end of a voicemail message and into the scene where

Angel dies is indicated by the voicemail beep turning into an EKG heart monitor beep, slowing down, and finally flat-lining. There is no musical underscoring, and the room was completely silent as the cue faded out, setting the stage emotionally for the scene to come.

Actors were outfitted with Countryman e6 earsets with windscreens to help minimize plosives and achieve the rock-and-roll aesthetic the director wanted. The lead 6 actors were also back-up mic'ed with Sennheiser ME2 lavs.

The pit consisted of a 5-piece rock band on-stage with every member playing via direct-input except for the acoustic drum kit, which was encapsulated in a plexi-glass shield and fully miked. Every member also had their own stereo in-ear monitor mix to help further reduce stage volume and give us as much control over the house-mix as possible. The IEM system was particularly useful during "Today 4 U", as part of the song was provided via a digital file with click track for the pit to play along with. 

One particularly fun solution involving Roger's guitar amp is detailed in its own project post HERE.

Voicemail #4 + EKG Beep - RENT
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Photo: Full Set, RENT

Sheyenne Theatre, 2015