Becoming ABBEDAM Musical Director – curious arts

The following is a guest blog post by BA Drama student, Evelyn Rollans.

You just never know what you’ll end up doing in this program!

I applied to be on the ABBEDAM production team with an open ended request. I would have been happy to take on any role. Within the BA Drama program, students get a medium level of experience in a variety of production roles, but ABBEDAM is for many the first time they are given reign to try out those skills and learn in a practical environment.

This was certainly the case for me, so I was happy to try anything!

What I ultimately ended up with was sound designer, but as talks with the director, Philip Geller, and my own reading of the play progressed, it became apparent this was not a show with a traditional array of sound effects and pre-recorded music that sound designers are normally in charge of. Instead, this is a show that needs to exist in the space, in the moment, and totally live.

So my role shifted, and I got to test out another set of skills, this time musical!

The Skriker is not a musical show, but music is a very present part of its world. So over the course of the process, we worked out a combination of pre-written music by me, and improvised music that I developed with the actors themselves in rehearsal.

Director Philip Geller (left) in rehearsals for The Skriker with students from the BA, BEd and MA drama programs.

It was a wild process, and even though the cast comes from all different levels of musical experience, everyone was game to dive in, try things out, and develop a musical landscape that was entirely our own, and entirely in the moment.

Evelyn Rollans
Musical Director, ABBEDAM 2017

by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Philip Geller
Nov. 2-5, 2017
Second Playing Space, Timms Centre for the Arts
Information and Tickets

ABBEDAM is an anagram of the letters BA, BEd and MA — the drama programs represented by the students who produce the annual ABBEDAM shows. For more information, visit the ABBEDAM Productions Facebook page.

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