…a “multidimensional object” inspired by the haunted sound worlds of British composer Daphne Oram, electronic music pioneer and inventor of Oramics, a multi-strand sound-generating machine. Sound functions as experiential road map here, carving out story amid distortions of time and space as Constance Sneed, Daphne’s present-day alter ego, investigates what it is to be invisible.
15 seconds of SOUND HOUSE sound! Listen here:
a new play by Stephanie Fleischmann
directed by Debbie Saivetz
with Victoria Finney, James Himelsbach, Susanna Stahlmann
set design Marsha Ginsberg
costume design Olivera Gajic
sound design Tyler Kieffer & Brandon Wolcott
lighting design Kate McGee
movement Brendan Spieth
additional music Christina Campanella
assistant director Aaron Ardisson
stage management Jhanaë Bonnick, Seth Kieser
running time 100 minutes
“We will be entering a strange world where composers will be mingling with capacitors, computers will be controlling crotchets and maybe, memory, music and magnetism will lead us towards metaphysics. Some of the results may even seem to be AMUSIVE.” –Daphne Oram, AN INDIVIDUAL NOTE, MUSIC, SOUND, ELECTRONICS
Stephanie prefaces her script with this historical note… In the late 50s/early 60s, long before computers or synthesizers, British electronic composer/inventor Daphne Oram (1925–2003) invented a machine that generated sound from drawn images. She called this her Oramics Machine. As a young engineer working at the BBC, Oram composed the score to Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall, and other seminal electronic scores. After co-founding the BBC Radiophonic workshop in 1958, Oram soon departed to establish her sound studio at Tower Folly, a former oast house in Kent. She kept the quote that recurs in this play—“Wee have sound houses…,” from Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis—on the wall, for inspiration. Oram received a substantial grant in 1962 to develop her Oramics Machine, but by the time she was in her 60s, she was reduced to presenting a series of weekly concerts of prerecorded classical music to local audiences in the forecourts and gardens of the great houses of Kent to make ends meet—this she called Daphne Oram’s Recorded Music Society. Although Oram died in obscurity, in recent years she has been rediscovered. In June 2016, Still Point, her piece for 2 orchestras and prerecorded sound, which she wrote when she was 23, premiered at London’s Southbank Centre to glowing reviews.
Stephanie Fleischmann, playwright: “SOUND HOUSE is an architectonic play with sound and movement that investigates the inscrutable condition of invisibility. This meditation on doorbell ditching, disappearing mothers, Haarlem’s almshouses for the elderly, and Oram’s sonic legacy envisions a world in which old ladies do not die alone or forgotten, trusted accomplices prove their mettle, and young women make themselves seen and heard. The play’s multiple strands of movement, sound, and text take the concept behind Daphne Oram’s Oramics—a machine that generates sound via drawn images on multiple strands of film running through a series of scanners—as a kind of structural model. My text serves as blueprint for a “sound house” in which sound and movement are instrumental in erecting a constantly shifting performative space whose membranes are as precisely constructed and as porous as the sliding paper walls and doors of a Japanese Shoji house.
A form of devising (even if driven, initially, by text), building the play has necessitated an intricate, extensive development process in which each element is informed by the next and every artist in the room is not just a dramaturg but a composer. We are conjuring an immersive sonic experience that allows the audience to travel into the minds of the characters and hear the music within, and engendering an experiential representation of the distortions of time and space that are at the heart of Daphne’s ideas.”
SOUND HOUSE was developed in New Georges’ Audrey Residency program.
in The Sam theater at
20 Thomas Street
(between Church & Broadway)
$25 thru 2/24 / $35 2/25-3/4
$55 premium tickets (reserved!)
New Georges is a 2017-18 Anchor Partner at The Flea.