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Students get a behind the scenes look
Broadway for the day
Students in Sean Harty’s Television/Video and Sound Production classes had an opportunity to find out how important the audio component can be to a theater production when they visited The Public Theater in New York City.
Since its inception in the 1960s, the non-profit theater has become the spot where some of Broadway’s most memorable shows had their beginnings, including “Oliver!” and the smash hit “Hamilton.” Through the years its productions have won 59 Tony awards, six Pulitzer Prizes and numerous other honors.
“I actually like the theater in general,” Jason Balsan, a senior at Dobbs Ferry High School, said. “It looked absolutely gorgeous.”
The structure was originally built as a library in 1854 and is now divided into several theaters.
“There are so many little theaters in that one giant theater,” Jason said.
The audio technology was impressive too.
“I didn’t know that much went into it,” Robinson Camacho, a senior at Sleepy Hollow High School said of the audio involved in a theater production. “I thought it was very interesting.”
While there, students learned the history of the building and how the audio crew operates.
“You can see how the architecture influences the design,” said Adam Pasqual, a junior at Woodlands High School, adding he learned how the design of the structure can sometimes be problematic for the audio crew.
“Each theater has its own sound to it,” Adam said.
While many of his students do not intend to have careers in theater production, Mr. Harty wanted to introduce them to an industry in which sound is an instrumental component.
“It’s a different branch of sound production,” he said. “There are many job opportunities there.”
Later in the year, his students will be introduced to the concept of psychoacoustics, which is the study of the perception of sound. Architectural elements, including what the walls are made of, can influence how the sound travels, how much is absorbed and more.
“It is extremely important to know what type of material you have, which can affect the tone,” Mr. Harty explained.
The theater has brick and plaster elements, key features for the audio crew to take into consideration with each production.
In addition, the students were able to see the sets of current productions and learn more about the relationship between video production, lighting and audio, and how the different crews work together.
This particular theater, Mr. Harty said, has an audio department composed of mostly women which is unique in the industry.
While the history of the theater was not the most interesting thing for Chris Caceres, a senior at Edgemont High School, he did enjoy seeing the sets and said the building itself was impressive.
“The architecture was very nice,” he said, adding that he appreciated Mr. Harty’s effort to introduce his class to another element of audio production.
Kyle Richardson, a senior at Pelham High School, agreed.
“I liked the architecture of the building,” he said.
“Each room is quite different,” Kevin Castro, a junior at New Rochelle High School, said.
The group had an opportunity to speak with The Public Theater’s audio supervisor and some of her staff.
“I asked what was her daily day like, basically it’s communicating with everyone, making sure everything was going all right,” Kevin said.