The Fig & the Wasp

A dystopian drama exploring isolation, technology, and why we fight hopelessness.  Tech-heavy in every regard, the production featured dance numbers, projection, bright light, a floating steel sphere, a tree that rose from the stage floor, and immersive sound.

 

In this world, virtual spaces have taken the place of ITF (in the flesh) interaction.  I worked first as an assistant, and then co-designer with Steve Cobilich, who sought to reinforce the feeling of technological isolation by giving the audience wireless headphones for the majority of the show.  He mic’d each actor and mapped them in an L-ISA immersive sound processor so that their voices would move in the headphones as they moved on stage.  Sam Wells provided original compositions which were also spatialized.

 

As the technological world on stage crumbles in an apocalyptic event, the audience is instructed to remove their headphones to join the characters in a more intimate, unmediated experience.  We also used speakers in the theater to play a low, droning fan cue from the moment the audience entered.  When the final bit of air circulation fails in the story, we ended that sound, creating more silence than the audience was aware could exist in the theater. 

 

The script moves from real life to virtual reality to coma dreams to memory.  Ambient sound was critical in establishing space.  I created tritones and hums, as well as "mutterings," described in the script as words pouring out of memories and tech devices. We also elicited dread, anxiety, and the feeling of disaster with a number of deep rumbles and explosions that shook the room and could be physically felt.

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The Fig & the Wasp

Written by Samantha Behr

Rosaura Flagg: Ishika Muchhal

George: Victoria Zajac

Cara Flagg: Fiona Rose 

Harla Monroe: Avalon Greenberg Call

Darwin Flagg & Pres. Curlew: Jeremy Spektor

Ensemble: Jamie Cayer, Heather Friedman, Willington Liu, Ronaldo Medina, Olivia Michael

Director: Josh Sobel

Scenic Designer: Yuki Ding

Lighting Designer: Violet Smith

Costume Designer: Lena Sands

Video Designer: Nat Nicholas

Co-Sound Designer: Steven Cobilich

Co-Sound Designer: Clare Marie Nemanich

Composer: Sam Wells

Choreographer: Livya Howard-Yashar

Co-Technical Director: Karim Abuabara

Co-Technical Director: Sam DuBois

Co-Technical Director: Ethan Geisness

Graphic Designer: Jen Dorman

Produced at Walt Disney Modular Theater, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

December, 2021

Assistant Director: Harry Golby

Assistant Scenic Designer: Jane Hamor

Assistant Scenic Designer: Yueyi Zhang

Assistant Lighting Designer: Cad Apostol

Assistant Lighting Designer: Stephanie Lutz

Assistant Costume Designer: Yi-Lun Chien

Assistant Costume Designer: Danica Martino

Assistant Video Designer: Ghazal Bazargan

Assistant Video Designer: Zoe Lappin

Production Manager: Chris Swetcky

Stage Manager: Jordie Marie Rippon

Producer: Angelina Jian

Assistant Stage Manager: Cassy Sottile

Assistant Stage Manager: Nicole Theep

Associate Production Supervisor: Katherine Paez Froehlich