We may take sound engineering for granted in a theatrical production, but we shouldn’t, especially if that theater is performed on the radio.
When Siena’s Stage III was looking for a way to have a safe theater experience last fall during pandemic restrictions, they hit upon the idea of the radio production. And what more famous radio production than War of the Worlds, first made famous by Orson Welles’ legendary 1938 broadcast?
The crucial role played by Carli Scolforo ’21 as sound designer was honored in February by the annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). Siena’s WotW production was invited to the Region 1 festival (held virtually) and Scolforo received the Regional Achievement in Sound Design Award and the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas (SILV) Award.
SILV has a partnership with KCACTF where students are selected to attend their intensive training program to meet, learn from, and network with leading experts in live entertainment who are committed to sharing their experience with the next generation. Scolforo received a full tuition grant for the program for her work on WotW. Her mentors on the project were Mike Lounello ’19, theater technology manager, and guest director Sam Buti.
Scolforo already had sound experience as an intern at WVCR and had worked on Siena’s production of “The Pajama Game.” She really got to show her stuff on WotW, with its sound effects, mixing and editing. The pre-recorded show was broadcast twice on WVCR last Halloween weekend.
“I really liked picturing in my head what people would be hearing and the atmosphere that had to be created for a production with no visuals,” she said.
Last semester presented challenges for the cast and crew, but despite all the health protocols, power outages and quarantines, the show went on.
“There were long hours, and it was chaotic at times, but it never felt like work.”
The English and journalism major is now exploring career options in audio while completing an internship writing for the music section of Paste magazine.
“Carli impressed me so much with the way she handled the production,” said Lounello. “I was able to put my full trust in her to deliver a fully produced and designed final product. All entertainment content features design, but in radio it is particularly important. When you take away the visuals, the sound engineering and design have to do all of the work to tell the story. Sound design is vital to the success of radio, and Carli successfully immersed audiences into the world of the play with her audio skills.”
Krysta Dennis, Ph.D., creative arts producer, added, "Our KCACTF respondents were amazed at what Carli was able to achieve on WotW. It was wonderful to see her receive this recognition outside our Siena community. I'm so delighted she will be afforded the opportunity at SILV to grow and learn as a sound engineer and designer."
The Siena production of WotW is now eligible for awards at the national KCACTF in April.