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The Giver

Clarence Brown Theatre

Director: Marti Gobel

Scenic Design: Michaela Lochen

Costume Design: Lauren Roark

Lighting Design: Mitch Wilson

Sound Design: Allison Bucher

The Giver by Eric Coble based on the novel by Lois Lowry, explores a dystopian society which is completely devoid of color, desire, and choice in an effort to bring peace to the Community’s inhabitants. Hormones are blocked at puberty, music and color have been erased entirely, and all decisions are made by the Committee of Elders.


The sound design for this production had to reflect these qualities, creating a sense of peacefulness that with careful manipulation could begin to feel more eerie and ominous. I was inspired by singing bowls and meditative soundscapes- long, drawn out ambient tones which are meant to calm the listener. I found that the bell-like quality of these sounds could serve a more utilitarian purpose in my design- calling to order, signaling the passage of time, or preceding a community wide announcement. 

When Jonas becomes the Receiver of Memory, he begins to discover all of the things that his society has left behind in exchange for a "peaceful" life of sameness. In contrast to the ambient tones of the Sameness, I wanted the moments of Jonas receiving the memories to feel magical and present. Although Jonas does not officially hear music until the end of the play, many of the sounds for abstract concepts include music, although in a very simplistic way- basic chords and simple melodies. This builds up to the moments in which Jonas finally does hear music, which are much more musically complex.

One of my goals with the sound design of this production was to create an immersive world. I made use of multiple sets of surround speakers to place and move specific sounds around the house using PanLab. I also delayed all of my speakers to a point far upstage so that I could use reverb in the house in a way that would feel as if the sound was washing over the audience from the stage. 

00:00 / 03:49

The Giver Speaker Plot PDF

The Giver Block Diagram PDF

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