Ominous crows, rural mayhem, gusts of wind and menacing storms are just the beginning of the well-crafted soundscape created by Sound Designer, Jouni Kirjola, in Big Idea's latest production of Don Nigro's The Ogre. Use this backstage pass for a look at how he brought the eery Brede Place of 19th-century Sussex to life right here in Sacramento!
|Jouni Kirjola | Sound Designer|
Big Idea: What were your thoughts when you picked up The Ogre?
Jouni: My first reaction? "Why have I never heard of this play?" It's really got something for everyone - drama, comedy, romance, haunted houses... It's the perfect fall-time show.
Big Idea: How would you describe the sounds of The Ogre?
Jouni: Don Nigro's script describes in detail the world surrounding The Ogre. My job was to bring that world to life through sound. My hope is that the sound design is convincing enough that people will forget they're in a theater and just live in the world of The Ogre for a couple hours.
Big Idea: How do you approach sound design?
Jouni: Usually I start with finding or creating music cues. Once the music is in place, I then start incorporating sound effects. The Ogre was different though, because the director, Gina Williams, already had most of the music selected. That freed me up to focus almost entirely on the soundscape.
Big Idea: What inspiration did you draw from when crafting the soundscape?
Jouni: I'm a huge fan of the way David Lynch uses sound in his films. It's so subtle, but so effective. He has this way of creating tension by layering everyday sounds - like a gentle breeze or the hum of an air conditioner, let's say - one on top of the other until you almost can't bear it. It gets under your skin and you don't realize how uncomfortable you are until it all stops. When it does stop, you're left with silence, which can be more unsettling than any sound effect.
Big Idea: Do you have a favorite piece or sound bit from the show?
Jouni: I don't, but I've heard a lot of chatter over the "chicken crash" sound cue.
Big Idea: How does sound play a role in crafting the world of any play?
Jouni: Sound plays a role in a play similar to how it plays a role in real life - you're usually not aware of it until it sounds wrong. In this particular piece, the sounds are incredibly important in creating mood and defining changes in location between the various scenes.
Big Idea: Was there anything challenging about this piece for you?
Jouni: There are moments in The Ogre when the audience is relying almost entirely on the sound design to inform them of what is happening offstage. The challenge was to bring those offstages moments to life with sound in order to create action in the mind's eye. I hope in the end it all works. If the audience is completely oblivious to the mechanics of sound design and simply feels like they've inhabited the world of The Ogre for two hours, then I've done my job.
"... the costuming and sound design also deserve compliments, as they complement the entire piece so well."
- Kel Munger on The Ogre, SN&R