A Curious Collaboration!
I have always enjoyed my time in theatre, either as a music director or as a composer. During my years at Heidelberg. I have worked with several wonderful directors; when current director Stephen Svoboda arrived on campus, I immediately asked about the possibility of collaborating on a production. Stephen had programmed two dramatic works for the upcoming season, one of which was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. Written by Simon Stephens, the play is an adaptation of the well-known novel by Mark Haddon. I read both, of course, as part of my preparation. Christopher Boone, the play’s protagonist, is a young man with autism; the play explores how he relates to his parents and the community about him.
At first, the project looked more than a bit challenging. This was a play that would have to rely on music, a lot of it! I started working on the score in the summer of 2018, using the Reason digital audio station program. This was my first attempt at creating a score using a DAW program, and in this case, it was a life saver. There was no time to write the music down on paper; just about everything in the score was developed through improvisations at the keyboard, ideas that I expanded into something larger, using the program’s vast sound resources.
The complete score was finished late in 2018, in time for rehearsals in January, 2019. Stephen was so very open to all of my musical ideas; he used just about everything that I sent on to him. Rehearsals produced other musical needs; the final challenge was meeting them, sometimes with less than 24 hours of notice! But this is a part of the game, and the fun. I was grateful to the cast and crew, who accepted my incidental music as if it was part of the script and learned how to work with it.