Turnkey Theatre Debuts Interactive Audio Play ‘Homecoming’
Speaker 1: 00:00 Over the weekend. The recently formed turnkey theater released its first interactive audio production called homecoming a meditation on the natural world, KPBS arts reporter, Beth duck Amando speaks with SDSU theater alum, Andrew Gutierrez, who did the sound design for the audio play? Speaker 2: 00:19 Andrew, you are the sound designer on this new project called homecoming. So give us a little background on what homecoming is. Sure. So homecoming is a meditation on the natural world and it is a interactive theater box set that is sent to the viewer at home so that you can do interactive theater without leaving your own space, especially in a time where everyone has kind of adjusted to what theater means to you and to interaction as it speaks to interaction. And I think that turnkey and homecoming has kind of re-imagined what a theater piece can be right now. This came about at San Diego state, you are a recent graduate and this was involving students and Katie Turner, who is your advisor for this project? So Jerry and Wade had come to Katie Turner with an idea for a summer research project that involved kind of metaphysical beings. Speaker 2: 01:20 And I wanted to have a real focus on what it means to be human and in our connection with the natural world. And so in, uh, last year around summer August, maybe we had put together the first draft of a piece called Reddit as Dom moon and which eventually became homecoming. And it was very similar. We sent it out to people to try test, got feedback, and found that it was successful and decided to go forward with it as turnkey theater, you did the sound design and on a piece like this, the amount of work that goes into it can be a little deceptive to the listener because it's voices that are in the forefront and the sound design is there the entire time in the background, but talk about the amount of work that goes into it. And how many layers of sound you were putting into this project? Speaker 2: 02:15 Right? So of course we have different characters and different people recording in various different spaces since this was all done virtually. So it can be very difficult to match the environment, to match the tones, to make sure that it feels like you're in one singular space. It's an interesting process because there's a lot of technical little things to make sure that you can't clock anything else that's going on. Um, and then of course you have to build the world around it and make it feel as authentic as you can while keeping it fresh and exciting over a long period of time. I think for this project, it took quite some time to make sure that everything matched and felt as smooth as it could. So let's hear a little bit of homecoming and then let's talk about the sound design. Speaker 3: 03:07 I have asked some of my most precious creatures to join us, to help me in my task. I swim in them. Now as your spirit of air, I ask for your presence. I am here, Ignace spirit of fire. I ask for your presence, the mother I am here, Oh, me, spirit of water. I ask for your presence, mother. I am here and Tara spirit of the earth. I ask for your presence, earth mother, I am here. Speaker 2: 04:11 All right. So this is where all the characters were introduced. And you had to find kind of audio qualities to define each of these characters. And what was that like? That was a very fun project. Um, there's one sound in particular for mother earth and I believe we also used it for the character Tara. Um, but it is a recording of what earth sounds like from space and it is a recording that NASA did. And I thought that it would speak to the very essence of what it means to be on this planet. It's a small rumbling sound. So if you listen for it, that was one of my little special little spices. I like to sprinkle in there to make sure that, um, we built this world that not only spoke to the creative element, but that also grounded us in the reality of, of our world that that's beyond us because we wanted to have this kind of, uh, other worldly, just out of earshot, feeling for these characters in these deities. Speaker 2: 05:17 And I thought that having a sound from another world that was still our own would support that. And you mentioned how it's like the small sound in the background. So people should really be listening to this on headphones and kind of focused. Yes, because I wanted to build the environment. Having both ears definitely puts you into the middle of it. And the quality of this is very kind of meditative. So this is the end. If you're expecting something to be fast paced or rigorously engaging in the sense that we sometimes feel with all these elements coming at us at rapid-fire pace, this is kind of a break from all that. Yes, we definitely want you to feel entertained, but also relaxed and connected to the source. And it's hard to distinguish. Is there actually music involved or is that all just kind of sounds that are woven together to have kind of musical quality? Speaker 2: 06:13 There's a musical elements. There are pads that are playing in the background. We want it to have, um, if you go and you listen to meditations online or frequencies, that'll bring out certain qualities. Uh, we wanted to emulate that and kind of give the sense that you're listening to a meditation, what you are. Um, but you're also listening to a play and this is a production of turnkey theater. Are there other productions in the works or is this a one-off? No, there are more in the works. This is our flagship first production, but if you go to turnkey theater or website, you will be able to keep up to date. All right. I want to thank you very much for talking about homecoming. Of course. Thank you so much. Speaker 1: 07:02 That was Beth doc. Amando speaking with Andrew Gutierrez about homecoming, a meditation on the natural world. The audio play is available through turnkey theater.com.