RCF brings clarity to Shakespeare’s King Lear
Thursday, 23 July 2020
rcf-brt-king-lear-cardsKing Lear at the Bristol Riverside Theatre
USA - What once was a 300-seat movie theatre Bristol Riverside Theatre (BRT) is located in the historic district of Bristol Borough in Eastern Pennsylvania. The theatre itself, built in 1937 and reopened as a performance hall in 1986, is well-known for bringing local and national artists to the stage, producing over 200 performances each year.
Earlier this year, BRT invited Eric Tucker, of New York City’s Bedlam Theatre to direct a production of King Lear with a fresh interpretation of the Shakespearean classic. The show ran for several weeks, starting 28 January and ending 16 February 2020.
When the production required a sound design, BRT re-enlisted the talents of consultant and sound designer, Brad Ward to assemble it. “One thing I liked about Bristol was the size, it’s a very intimate venue, you don’t need a lot of speakers to achieve the result you want,” said Ward, whose recent theatre work includes previous shows with Tucker at BRT, The Rivals, as well as Choir Boy, which won a Tony award for Best Sound in 2019.
Ward also works as a systems designer with New York firm Auerbach Pollack Friedlander on renovation projects such as Huntington Theatre Company in Boston, Marymount Manhattan Theatre in New York City, and is the associate sound designer and system designer for Take Me Out at Second Stage Theatre on Broadway.
Ward’s challenge was to find a creative audio solution to create an aural atmosphere for the play. Following a suggestion from Mark Meding of On-The-Road Marketing, Ward turned to RCF, deploying a small rig consisting of four HDL 28-A Active Line Array Modules [two per side upstage], two TT 22-A Active Two-Way Speakers [for the catwalk], one SUB 9004 Active Subwoofer, and one RCF HD 21EN paging horn.
Brad also met with RCF Product Specialist Jim Reed, consulted on the product solution and helped integrate the system on stage. “At first I thought we could rely mainly on subs, on both sides of the stage, then we tried one SUB 9004 centred on the upstage wall - and it carried the show,” Ward said. “The HDL 28’s [line arrays] brought a nice sound quality, very clear and natural, I didn’t have trouble making it sound natural, but I was thrilled with the [SUB] 9004 because it added so much to fill the space.”
Another one of Ward’s future projects will highlight RCF as the main system in a new design for the Broadway production Take Me Out, scheduled to be one of the first performances when Broadway re-opens April 21, 2021.
(Jim Evans)

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