Legacy of Light
Theatre UNI’s production of Legacy of Light by Karen Zacarias added a pantomime ensemble to the original stage directions of the script. Based on Zacarias’ vision, action onstage was never supposed to stop. The pantomime ensemble was used to tell a secondary, underlying story as well as create action during scenic changes. Legacy of Light focuses on themes such as motherhood, science, time, and leaving your legacy. As a sound designer, I interpreted the initial stage direction of action never stopping as having sound onstage never stop as well. Every moment of the show was accompanied by music, original compositions, or soundscapes. Sound finally ceased following a sequence of storms which, based on Director Amy Osatinski’s vision, ripped the curtain of space and time bringing the characters from both time periods to the same place. As the sound designer, I composed original music for the underscoring and scene transitions, compiled and created soundscapes, and recorded a voiceover.
Legacy of Light by Karen Zacarias
Director - Amy Osatinski
Scenic Design - Ron Koinzan
Lighting Design - Chris Hanian
Sound Design - Tommy Truelsen
Costume Design - Amy Rohrberg
Projection Design - Ron Koinzan and Natalie Ervolino
Photography - Carla Wehmeyer
Legacy of Light presents sound design challenges as it is a multi-period show. The play alternates between being in 1700’s France and modern day New Jersey. I combated this challenge by composing original motifs to create a connection between characters, ideas, and themes that could span across time. These motifs were then manipulated to reflect a baroque or modern style as well as different modalities to change the overall tone of the piece based on the surrounding plot. Below are examples of the three main motifs used in this production which are connected to themes of love, science, and motherhood. The underscore music for the final scene of the show combines all three of the major themes.
The love theme quotes thematic material from “She Blinded Me with Science” by Thomas Dolby. “She Blinded Me with Science” is noted as being “the song” of the modern day couple, Peter and Olivia. It is also linked to the other couples throughout the show and appears in baroque and modern iterations as well as major and minor iterations.
The science motif was composed for the show. It is used to connect the modern day scientist, Olivia, to the 1700’s French scientist, Emilie du Chatelet, as they explore their work throughout the show. The main instances of its usage are underneath monologues at the end of act 1, Emilie, and at the beginning of act 2, Olivia. The accompaniment material in these iterations does not reflect a modern or baroque time period, but rather, it reflects a more ethereal, scientific soundscape which pulls the characters out of their specific place in time.
The lullaby theme was composed for this production by setting the French and Italian lullaby text, provided in the script, to music. The motif appears multiple times throughout the show in underscoring, scene transitions, and is performed by two characters in French and Italian respectively. Most notably, the thematic material accompanies Voltaire’s monologue as he speaks about Emilie’s legacy following her death.