Saturday, August 17, 2019

MEET THE 2019 NOMINEES: A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Jonathan Hopkins
Presented by Smith Street Stage

NOMINATED FOR: Outstanding Original Music - Joe Jung

Joe Jung

What attracted you to working on this project?
I've been a big fan of Smith Street Stage since its founding. I acted in their previous production of The Tempest and jump at any chance to work with them in whatever capacity I am able.

What was your favorite part of working on this production? And why?
SSS is all about collaboration and creativity, as well as treating the plays of Shakespeare with the respect and energy that is required of them. Music is a big part of ...Dream, so to be so intimately involved with how music influences the world of the play was incredibly fulfilling.

What was the most challenging part of working on this production? And why?
Live music in an outdoor space is always tricky. How can the actors be heard when an ice cream truck is blaring right down the road? What kind of music can evoke a courtly or mystical environment in the middle of a city park? How can we use the environment we have to inform the music and vice versa? These questions led to a lot of really creative conversations.

What do you want the audience to come away with after watching your production?
Taking a cab, loaded with weird musical instruments, into Manhattan on a weekend morning for our first music rehearsal, getting stuck in a traffic jam, then walking a few blocks loaded down with guitars, amps, a cajon, a few crowbars, and a bunch of other bells and whistles will always be etched in my mind. But getting into the room and asking the cast what they play, what they would be willing to bang on - challenging "non-singers" to sing, and "non-musicians" to play - is always a joy. Likewise, we found a great way to mix electric and acoustic music to the mix, to define the human world with acoustic sounds and the fairy world with more electric music was a nice little shift.

What is the best thing about working with this company and/or these artists?

Trust. Jonathan and Beth Ann are incredibly trusting producers. The cast was trusting in my notion that they all could contribute to the soundscape. And I trusted everyone involved to execute what ended up being the music for the show. When a trusting environment is established, lovely art is made.

Did you learn anything or discover anything new while working on this project? If so, what?
Music and theatre go hand in hand, always. They are best friends. They tell each other secrets and bring out the best in each other.

What does this nomination mean to you?
It always means a lot to be acknowledged by your peers and the audiences you serve.

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