Monday, May 24, 2010

Surround Sound

I love first-time performance experiences. I had one yesterday.

This was a performance of Rumi poetry in which some of the poems used piano and vocals. Both the reader and the singer are my clients.

During one of the poems I heard the word “waiting” coming from behind me. I always sit in the back row so that I can feel the audience response, so I thought someone standing behind me had said “waiting.” I turned around–no one there.

I heard it again, turned around again–no one there.

Then I realized that the words had been said by the singer on stage, even though the sound had seemed to come from behind me. So I checked to see if there were a speaker on the floor or mounted on a wall–there wasn’t one.

I’ve never encountered that phenomenon before, and am not sure how to explain it. She had been trained not to “project,” so she wasn’t consciously bouncing the sound off the back wall.

My guess is that she had gotten more deeply into the poetry and the music by that time, and had involved us, the audience, more deeply, so that the words seemed to be “happening” among us rather than recited and sung to us.


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