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Blues for an Alabama Sky

Theoretical Project

Director: Nicole Watson

Scenic Design: Michaela Lochen

Costume Design: Alex Heder

Sound Design: Allison Bucher

Blues for an Alabama Sky follows the lives of a found family in Harlem in 1930 who meet a man from Alabama who turns their world upside down. In the midst of the Harlem Renaissance, these characters encounter struggles of poverty, homophobia, and reproductive freedom, all while trying to pursue the lives they dreamed of. 


Through my sound design, I not only wanted to exemplify the world that these characters are living in, but also recontextualize it in a way that is familiar to a modern audience. I also wanted to spotlight the art and music that surrounded these characters, as their stories take place in the middle of the Harlem Renaissance, and they themselves are surrounded by artists who would become legendary. In doing this, I wanted to use the jazz and blues music that was being created at this time, and occasionally recontextualize it for a modern audience by using modern covers of these same pieces of music. The historical versions of these songs would be diegetic to the characters in their world, being played through gramophones and radios in their own homes, while the modern versions would be non diegetic and played through the regular speakers in the theatre. My intention is to use this during transitions to bring us back and forth between scenes and through time.

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