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Romeo and Juliet Demo

A rough collection of sounds, pulled music, and original compositions created for the University of Houston's Spring 2020 production of Romeo and Juliet at the Quintero Lab Theatre. As the production was cancelled at the 11th hour due to Covid, I'm putting this music out there for the enjoyment of others, although outside the context of the production.

My first concept for this piece was more traditional and conservative: a modern film score arranged with baroque instrumentation. This was a safe choice, and I knew it.

Thankfully, scenic designer Afsaneh Aayani (whose B&W rendering forms the cover art) pulled all the stops when designing her gorgeous set, a rich celestial coliseum, inviting me to start from scratch, and to create a more ambitious, unconventional design. After talking with director Rosie Ward, it became clear that leaning hard into the celestial themes would be supported by the rest of the design team's work, and we decided to push to create warm beds of music and sound that were simple enough to not distract from the music of Shakespeare's dialogue, and touched with baroque flair.

While reading Talking Heads frontman David Byrne's book "How Music Works," I discovered that NASA had released a collection of recordings of electromagnetic radiation from the Voyager missions, essentially a planetary drone album. Selections from Jupiter, and Jupiter's moon Lo feature on this demo, adding incredible textures, everything from the illusions of soft winds and a chamber choir.

I can comfortably speak for the design and creative team when I say that we are crushed that this production is no longer. Normally, there's always the next show to move on to, but with the cancellation of every arts event and performance worldwide, many artists, us included, face an uncertain immediate future.

Thanks for giving this a listen.

Includes snippets of Max Richter's recomposition of Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Dream Solo.

Director: Rosie Ward
Scenic Design: Afsaneh Aayani
Costume Design: Victoria Nicolette Gist
Lighting Design: Addie Pawlick
Sound Design and Original Music: Gage Baker

Spirits to Enforce

This is an early draft of a composition used as entrance music for the audience entering the theatre for the University of Houston's Spring 2020 production of Spirits to Enforce at the Quintero Lab Theatre. The play has an immediately confusing premise: all of the characters from Shakespeare's "The Tempest" are alive in present day, still living on Prospero's Island, working dull day jobs at a call center inside a submarine, while also moonlighting as superheroes. One day, they decide to raise via their call center in order to produce their own production of "The Tempest." 

Despite the supernatural elements, superheroes, and submarine setting,  the show was designed to be a piece of stark realism. After a conversation with playwright/director Mickle Maher, I started going down the rabbit hole of liquindi, a style of water drumming that appears in many cultures, but is most commonly associated with tribes in Central Africa. 

By combining liquindi, percussion, and ambient electric guitar (as performed by assistant sound designer Laur Hale), audiences were not-so-subtly clued into the fact that they wouldn't be watching a Neil Simon play that evening.

Director/Playwright: Mickle Maher

Scenic Design: Bryan Nelson Moses

Costume Design: Juan Sacaray

Lighting Design: Nina Saunders

Sound Design and Music: Gage Baker

Sound Scripts: Tuz and Soly

A series of excerpts from playwright Eric Moore's newest play, as produced by Houston's Rec Room Arts.

The Sound Scripts project is a series of 9 fully-produced radio plays, written by the inaugural class of the Rec Room Writers Group, and recorded and produced remotely, per the guidelines of Actors Equity.

Directed by Leslie Swackhamer

Stage Management: Allison Viera

Original Music and Sound Design: Tommy Trulesen

Audio Producer: Gage Baker

Recording/Mixing: Gage Baker

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