Sounds of the Underworld: An Interview with Honors Student Meghan Roach
Meghan Roach’s Audio Instillation will be shown twice, on June 9th and June 10th in the Lee Center for the Arts. I sat down to talk to her about her inspiration, process and experience here with ARTS at SeattleU.
BB: Will you describe your piece for us?
MR: It is being billed as a theatrical audio instillation, simply because I had no better way of describing it. It started out as a radio play, where I cast actors for a script written for radio. But then I came across this script that I really loved, Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl. It’s a modern retelling of the Orpheus myth told through the perspective of Orpheus’s wife Eurydice. And basically what I did was to take a cut of that play, specifically the parts taking place in the underworld, and cast voice actors all of which are students at SU. We are doing an audio production of it, no actors on stage. There is music by a student composer and it’s voiced by student actors. It will be presented in the Lee Center. We are making a space for it out of curtains and my friend Lily, who is a recent alumni, is designing the lighting for it……so hopefully it will be a really immersive experience in listening to this play.
BB: You mentioned how your proposal was pretty different from how it turned out. Will you describe how the project emerged organically?
MR: I had this idea on a whim and ended up rewriting the project which was completely different from my proposal, but I have stuck pretty closely to the format of this new incarnation. I have never done an audio play before, I’ve done short little videos that I have edited together and I have done a lot of audio editing that hasn’t exactly been storytelling. But this is the first time I have tried telling a story just through audio, instead of helping tell someone else’s story.
BB: What do you do outside of school? Is there a theater company that you work with?
MR: I don’t work with any one specific theater company. There have been instances where a theater company has needed someone who can do sound, and I have been that person. Ki Gottberg is on the board of the Merc Playhouse and so I have designed two shows there. Two years in a row I went over there for summer break and designed there. I have also done similar things, and am working right now as a sound technician.
BB: What are your plans after graduation?
MR: For a brief while I will be living in Disney World! I am doing the Disney College Program, for the second time. I actually did it my sophomore year and you go for a quarter. I worked at the Tower of Terror, so I will be working with various attractions, living in company sponsored housing. I have no idea what I will be working on specifically when I get there, but it will be exciting!
BB: What do you envision doing in the next few years after graduating?
MR: I don’t know, but will continue doing sounds design work and I hope I will continue to enjoy doing it. That is kind of why I am taking some time off, you can get a little burned out. I have also looked into film, television, maybe moving back to L.A. where I am from.
BB: What was your mindset around choosing students to voice your piece?
MR: Part of it was convince. These are people that I have worked with a bunch and who are always looking for more opportunities to do student produced work. I wanted to give students a chance to gain experience in the field they want.
BB: Will you talk a bit about your experience at SU? Were the certain faculty members who really inspired you?
MR: I came here as communications major. I had done some theater stuff in high school but I hadn’t planned on perusing it. During my orientation, there was this thing where you read a book ahead of time and then discuss it with fellow students and a faculty. My faculty member happened to be Harmony Arnold and she mentioned what she did in the theater and told anyone who was interested to send her an email. So I did, and worked with her for a quarter. Then I took and audio production class which I had no experience in. That was taught by Domenic Cody-Kramers, and I ended up running the sound for the show called Buried Child. Then I was the Assistant Stage Manager for the next show, which I liked too but I missed doing the sound stuff. Then I left for a quarter and came back to do more shows. Domenic really mentored me. I shadowed him for shows he did at ACT Theater, Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play and A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. This year he was working on another show at ACT and I was assisting him on that. At the last minute he had to step away and I got bumped up to associate sound producer which was a great experience.
BB: What is some advice you would have for an incoming student?
MR: Be willing to try stuff out. I came here with a totally different major and ended up switching it. I never would have thought that taking an audio production class would put me where I am now. If you have questions about something, go ahead and ask. People love helping each other, especially at SU.