The Shape of Things

Directed by Aaron Ussery

In my last quarter of undergrad I sound designed The Shape of Things by Neil LeBute. I’m especially proud of this design because I think it is my first, or at least my best, attempt at executing a sound design that uses a design metaphor. The design metaphor is a way of designing where all the elements of a design are created to represent one unifying object or concept.

In The Shape of Things, Adam meets Evelyn and they start dating. Right from the get go Evelyn comments on Adam’s appearance and aspects of his personality. She makes suggestions about what Adam could do to “better” himself and he almost always obliges. By the end of the show she has convinced him to dress differently, start working out, get a nose job, and stop talking to some of his best friends. Once she’s gotten him to propose to her, she reveals that she was never truly interested in him and that she had been manipulating him to turn him into a “human sculpture” for her thesis project.

To choose a metaphor I studied the text and the theme that stood out to me was manipulation, so I decided to use manipulation as my metaphor. I explored this theme through experimental jazz. The music I used in the beginning of the show was fairly traditional experimental jazz. It was older, a lot of it was written in the 60s, and it used acoustic instruments.As the show progressed I chose music that gradually began to incorporate more and more electronic elements until, at the end of the show when Adam has been completely transformed, the music has become undeniably electronic.

I’ve included clips of the music I used.

Destroy The Nihilist PicnicThe London Experimental Jazz Quartet
00:00 / 01:01
Route 66Nat King Cole
00:00 / 01:00
Like It IsYusef Lateef
00:00 / 01:01
The Awakening Of A WomanThe Cinematic Orchestra
00:00 / 01:01
High RiskDave Douglas
00:00 / 01:01
The Awakening Of A Women (edit 2)The Cinematic Orchestra
00:00 / 01:01
Electric NightsZack Sekoff
00:00 / 01:01
OliviaShigeto
00:00 / 01:01
Blind AestheticsTaylor McFerrin
00:00 / 01:10
PostpartumTaylor McFerrin
00:00 / 01:20
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