Produced by: Seattle Public Theater
Directed by: Russ Banham
Photos by: Paul Bestock
Mauritius revolves around sisters disagreeing over what to do with an inherited stamp collection and three stamp dealers who are trying to claim the collection for themselves. Russ set the show in Detroit as he wanted to play off the idea of something that once was great is now dilapidated, and the fight for hope in the midst of it. He wanted the play to feel inner city with aspects of the glory days of Detroit Motown days.
The show didn’t need much in terms of internal sound cues for the scenes, but the transitions were super important. The Scenic Designer had put the back wall and platforms of the set on a large wagon that would slide left or right to reveal either the stamp shop or the sisters’ house. These scene transitions were choreographed and meant to be featured. For these transitions I blended modern electronic rock with transportation and construction noises meant to signify the tension between trying to rebuild and running away from it all. I then had a speaker planted in the wagon which played classic Motown songs as it slid back and forth during scene transitions. The Motown songs featured lyrics that matched the emotional undertone of the characters.
Note: This show was also challenging because a lot of the theater’s sound equipment broke right before this production. I had to run the show off an iPod with the left channel of the audio going to the mains and the right channel going to the speaker on stage.