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Friday, March 19, 2010

Can you scream for 17 seconds? Try it, suckas!

In what will be perhaps the most underwhelming Unnaturally Green post ever, I will now recount the time I had to scream into a microphone for 17 seconds.  Okay, here I go.

On second thought, the context might actually interest you (especially if I pepper in irrelevant details). It turns out that Elphaba's cry as she melts (um, I may have just given away some of WICKED's plot... but, c'mon, if you haven't seen The Wizard of Oz yet you deserve such ill-treatment!) is actually a sound cue, pre-recorded by each actress, and swapped accordingly should a standby or cover fill-in.

Yesterday morning, at the lusty hour of 11AM, I sauntered into the stage manager's office in the basement of the Orpheum Theater to record my own patented version of le scream.  I was wearing a black Lululemon hoodie, the one with the thumb holes.  Super comf.  I hadn't showered.  One of our illustrious sound men came in, attached some wires to a bunch of doo hickeys, opened and closed some applications and such, and then instructed me to scream into a microphone for 17 seconds.  And then I did.

But, to milk this story for all it's worth: a few nights prior, our production stage manager David gave me a CD with three "sample screams" on it, courtesy of former Elphabas-- which, combined, comprised a delightful minuet of pain and agony, which I played back repeatedly on my iPod as I strolled along the sunny hills of San Francisco.  Very profound. Or just weird.

Because it turns out that, A) there are many ways to scream (variations in pitch, volume, vowel, gurgliness), B) the Elphaba scream is really fricking long when taken out of context.  (See post's affronting title.)

Fast forward back to Wednesday morning.  I screamed. There really is nothing else of interest on which to report.  Basically, I screamed, it was long, it took a lot of breath control, and I'm not sure if it sounded like the cry of someone whose flesh was melting or someone who was doing vocal warmups before their high school production of "Pippin." Upon my debut, I shall formally submit this Blog's comment section for your scream judgment and criticism.  Because clearly it is a riveting topic that should garner pages and pages of more discussion.

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH,
Felicia.

13 comments:

  1. Hahahaha, I can't wait to see you as Elphaba. Gosh, I am really excited for you, go get them girl!

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  2. Who where the former elphaba's screams you listened to?

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  3. Interesting, techy-kind-of post. Was in in one take? Did you warm up a lot before or was it more meltingly effective with little warm up?
    Post reminded me, I sing "Witchy Woman" for my "job" and had to teach myself how to sing that whiney falsetto part on the bridge. Come to think of it, the lyric, "see how high she flies" - now when I sing that, being a Wicked fan, I can think of Elphaba! Splendid!

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  4. There were about six takes, and I did a few puff-hums and lip trills before hand (when you blow out through your lips to make them buzz to get the breath going). Alyssa our new Elphaba Understudy was also there to record her own scream. It was a scream fest!

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  5. As with all sound produced by your golden vocal cords, I am certain that your inimitable 17 seconds will, in a word, ELECTRIFY!!!

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  6. Your blogs make me laugh so hard sometimes I have to run to the bathroom to check that everything down under is still in good form! It also makes me want to use big words...I may just have to make some up though! We should have drinks soon...wink wink! No really, for real!

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  7. Do you have to act like you're melting? Or did u just stand and scream?

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  8. I hope it was blood-curdling! hahaha

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  9. Watching the show tonight, I snickered to myself when they played Eden's scream. She has kind of a little secondary dying gasp at the end. What's normally a sad moment had an amusing undertone this time.

    Great show as always, even with adventures in capes and body mikes. You were sweet to say hi at the stage door (and sorry for hogging some of your time with the fam).

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  10. Did you have to rehearse your screaming at home? Did it weird out your neighbours?

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  11. 17 seconds? That's it? My husband WISHES it was only 17 seconds I could scream for!!!!!

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  12. I'd never been sure if Elphaba's scream there was prerecorded or not - now I know! I love that they actually gave you sample screams to listen to (and I'm also wondering who they were!).

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  13. I always wonder what it's like to be Elphaba, your blog answers all of my questions :) hehe.

    Screaming for 17 seconds is an extremely long time. But during the show, it doesn't seem that long! Next time I go (which will be the 7th, hope to see you at Stage Door!) I'm sure I'll have the urge to count lol.

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