Sometimes I think the amount of automation in theatre sound has gone a little too far. Too far in that the sound looses it’s live quality. Too far in that the sound is just a little too polished.

Don’t get me wrong, I would NEVER go back to CDs or cassette tapes, or samplers, or reel to reel tape or all live foley sound. Still, at times, it seems that the amount of automated control has facilitated the removal of the “live” aspect of sound in theatre.

I’m not blaming the technology; it would be foolish to blame the technology. The technology, however, does allow us to create complex and impressive ideas that are, perhaps, inappropriate or, more likely, not able to be fleshed out in the production environment.

This issue is not restricted to theatre sound. Virtually any creative or artistic field that incorporates technology deals with some version of this. So, it is always exciting when I find someone who has found a unique, creative way to deal with this issue.

Shawn Rocco addresses this issue in photography by using a cellphone camera to take photos. Find out about Shawn and his work in this NY Times article, or on his blog Cellular Obscura.

Joseph Fosco