Sound an Important Character in the Play Anon(ymous)

Anonymous poster FINALNOTE: dues to a coming snowstorm, performances dates and times have changed. Showtimes are now Wednesday, February 13 at 7 pm and Thursday, February 14 at 10 am.

On Sunday morning, as students on campus are getting out of bed to head to brunch, senior Isaac Newcomb is in the sound booth at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, two hours into tech rehearsal for the play Anon(ymous). He is with the members of the crew that the audience never sees. Set designer Sarah Sheridan ’21, Lighting Designer Maggie MacNeil ’22 and Sound Designer Newcomb are running through the hundreds of cues they need to get just right during performances.

It is obvious the team has been working together for months on this project. Director Noel Carmichael utters a few words toward the stage. “Got it,” comes back to the booth. They are beyond speaking in complete sentences.

The opening performance is so near that Carmichael is counting the hours until curtain – just 72. The anxiety among the group is palpable. They have worked so hard and come so far that they know they have something good, but at this rehearsal, they also learn there are many details still to be worked out. They are all-business this morning, trying to squeeze productivity out of every minute.

Newcomb’s role as sound designer is particularly important in this play, which uses many dream-like, evocative sequences filled with abstract sound to advance the plot. Carmichael knew that Newcomb would be perfect for sound design:


Isaac Newcomb ’19 (left) designed the sound for the play; Ms. Noel Carmichael is the director. (Photo: Mr. John Spear)

In this sound clip designed by Newcomb, Angelia Castillo ’21, who plays Nemasani, sings a mournful song originally written by a group in a Lebanese refugee camp in the 1980s. The stage direction said only “Nemasani sings an ancient song:”


Newcomb took a short break during rehearsal to talk about what he enjoys about sound design and what has been most difficult about working on this play:


Isaac Newcomb ’19 programming sound cues in the sound booth at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (Photo: Mr. John Spear).


In these two sound cues, Newcomb recorded cast members’ voices, layered on other sounds and then distorted the final product to create powerful moments in the play:


Listen to Isaac describe the process he used to create sound for Anon(ymous). He recorded, layered, edited and filtered audio to give the play a distinctive sound that director Noel Carmichael says is “an important character in the play.”



Performances are on Wednesday, February 13 at 10:00 am & 7:00pm at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.

All shows will be followed by a discussion.

Admission is free and open to the public.
Please email to reserve seats

Humans of Northwood: Hannah Kessel ’18

Hannah Kessel '18

I am a senior. I’ve been here for four years. I like to be outside, hiking, rock climbing — the whole deal. I’m really into English. I like to read. I’m a human rights kind of girl. I want to be a lawyer. I have a goal to not be late to first period, because I’ve been late to first period every day this week. So I’m going to stop that starting Monday. I’ll be on time every day. I also want to meet some more people. I’m a rock climber, and I want to climb Frosted Mug without falling, which is pretty hard. It’s a 5.9. I am writing a book right now. It’s going okay. I’m writing about the state of politics in the United States, and how we can de-polarize without compromising on human rights. Nothing “alt-right;” no “alt-left.” I don’t know who I want to read it…Trump, but he won’t read it. I’m writing it because I think it’s important. It’s important to talk about progress, the environment and issues that are at the forefront of society right now. I think it’s important to keep talking, even if people aren’t influenced by what you say.

As told to Mr. Spear ‘88

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