Quotidian’s PR assistant, Lauren Katz, chats with Ed Moser, Sound and Projections Designer.
What was your first theatrical experience? My first experiences performing were earlier than I can remember, actually. My mother was an award-winning documentarian who, among other things, played Norfolk’s first Romper Room hostess. I was on the show whenever the tv studio needed more kids to go to air. My father was Jackie Gleason’s deck manager in Miami, and I remember the week day rehearsals: a world premiere hour-long musical production for national air on a weekly basis. Since my parents were so active in that community, I saw a great deal of backstage production, from car commercials to puppet theatre.
How did you begin designing in DC? I’d been back to school in an attempt to keep up with youngsters breaking into industrial video and music production. Their fresh certifications with softwares were proving superior to my experience in the job market, so here I was, back at home looking to complete my required internship, when out of the blue an old mutual friend of Tim Thompson’s called me with a sound engineering question. Tim is the sound master at Arena and was then looking for some production help with Señor Discretion Himself. It was lucky timing.
What appeals to you about the DC theatre community? In film, when the project strikes, no one wants to go through that kind of work again anytime soon, so finding steady work with artistic satisfaction has become impossible since the Reagan era. In theatre, we’re nutty enough to move right on the the next show. The scale is small, but the community is large and active enough to keep you busy through the whole year, if you want it bad enough. Very few cities have that.
How did you get involved with The Lady with the Little Dog? I love working with Quotidian Theatre. It’s that simple; it’s my favorite company. The people here make Emma Peel look incompetent. The secret to the quality of shows you see here is that the artists get to work far in advance. For Lady, we’ve been actively designing since last fall. When you have that much lead time for revisions it pays dividends.
What’s different about this role/project for you? How does this rehearsal process differ from others? Most productions divide and conquer by department, then merge everything in the final week before opening. So the performers usually have weeks to get everything to a certain standard, and memorization, before adding costumes, lights, etc. But for this show, our director, Stephanie, knows that the key to achieving the tone that she’s so good at setting (marked by A Little Trick a couple of years ago) is to integrate early. In particular, the blocking is detailed to word by word, moment by moment, step by step blueprinting that amounts to choreography. Everything about this process has been so much more collaborative.
How has the process been so far? Rewarding. Being a small company in a small venue, our challenge is always to squeeze more than is possible out of our resources— or at least I’m one of those responsible for making sure we do— and on this show we’re really taking a home run swing. We’re adding a multi-level set and projections, which invariably tax the ingenuity of production teams, but now comes the payoff on the investment, and I can’t wait for opening night. This is a good show.