Mrs. Warren's Profession
BY: George Bernard Shaw
DIRECTED BY: Rebecca Bradshaw
SOUND DESIGNER: ELIZABETH CAHILL
We are in Vivie's world, in her head, and from the first moment we see her we discover how good she is at blocking things out. The sound design for this production shows what Vivie chooses to hear, when she chooses to hear it. When she is absorbed in her studies or in conversation, the sweet songs of the birds outside drift away. As we are led to four distinctly different locations, the soundscape transforms through the transitions, giving a sneak preview of the next space we will inhabit.
act i: cottage garden
Act I begins with the sound of wind chimes, birds, and wind, which combine to make something of an organic song. Vivie, absorbed in her studies, blocks out this song, as well as the gentleman who has approached her, desiring her attention.
Act II: Inside the cottage
As the sun sets, The Warrens and friends head inside for supper. The sound of birds fades away and is replaced by crickets. A grandfather clock tells us it is 6:00. We hear the creaking of an old home, the sound of a screen door rattling, and the whistle of a tea kettle. They are settling in for the evening. We are led out of the scene by the grandfather clock once more, telling us that it is midnight. Vivie and Mrs. Warren have just had a very long, difficult conversation, so although the scene itself was only 40 minutes, the clock chimes create the illusion that this conversation may have been longer than we have just seen.
Act iii: The Rectory garden
During intermission, we hear a new chime, church bells. The night has passed, and it is now 11:00 am. We hear an abridged chime sequence as we move into Act III, updating the time to 11:30. The Warrens are coming over, but Reverend Sam Gardener has just woken up, feeling rather under the weather after an evening of drinking.
ACT iv: Chancery Lane
Vivie has returned to the place where she feels most at home, her workplace. We transition from the sound of church bells and birds, to the harsh sounds of the city. The machinery echoes through the space. A horse and carriage moves behind us as we hear Vivie's train approaching. Big Ben erupts into a declaration that it is now noon, but in a very different, grander place.
Photo Credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photography