Music is a powerful universal language that is understood by all and unites people from all walks of life. In theatre and literate works, music plays a vital role in bringing imagery into life as well as explaining when words and pictures are not sufficient. Music is art, as well as a form, of expressing oneself. Gardner blogs that “Theatre hasn’t always employed music as well as it might, but a perfectly placed song can elevate a scene to the dramatic heights” (para. 1). With this knowledge in mind, the use of music and sound effects in the theatre should never be omitted since it spices up the life of any play.
In the play Cloud 9 by Cary Churchill, the message behind the characters’ gender issues as well as their sexism is a rolling story that greatly depicts what happened that led to the formation of present mother Britain. This should be played out with such high level of quality and performance. The use of pathos, logos and ethos can be shown with the use of accompanying music sounds that play in the background.
The theme of gender confusion is the most dominant and strongly emphasized one. To give it the severity that is deserves, Churchill should have introduced the sound of clashing and crunching and ululating all combined together; to draw up a frenzied state that signifies confusion. This was going to be perfect when Edward insists that he would rather be a woman yet his father strongly disapproves any display of being gay.
This confused clatter helps to best explain the randomness of how personalities and different sexual orientations in physical bodies stretches out during the act, particularly Act 2 Scene 4 as this is summing up everything and a bid to convince the viewer that the characters are really confused about their genders and sexual preferences.
The use of songs is vital it can be used to heighten the satirical aspect of the play. When the characters sing out during a play, it takes out some of the tension created by the intense message that the play has to it. The use of song and dance in theatre and film can be used as a way of making the characters relate to their onstage personalities and be able to enjoy playing someone else as well as be an excellent actor or actress.
There is a show of sexual liberation in the play and this should have been accompanied by sounds of jubilation as this is what the act is trying to depict. In a thematic sense, all the characters define themselves aligned to Clive and he must be the one used to show this act of liberation. This can be done when Clive comes on stage to express his disapproval and regret over what Britain has become.
This sound of jubilation can also be used when Victoria announces that she has left Martin and is no longer the dummy that was inclined to listening to and obeying Martin, she has blossomed into a new person who is comfortable in her own skin as well as a good mother. Her search for her true and strong identity is a success that has to be emphasized on since the play is all about gender issues.
Nature is beautiful and its beauty is best seen in summer time. When Cathy comes in reciting her poem, the use of birds chirping in the background can be used to show that this is an outdoor setting, a park during summer. This makes the theme of love more clear and the setting brighter. Since this is art in theatre and film, it is greatly commended to use sounds and song in order to maximize the way that the message is carried across throughout the play.
When Cathy comes on stage with a nose bleed, her presence should be felt. She is not a skinny bimbo neither is she the average little girl that is portrayed but rather a very big 5 year old with a mother who is a lesbian and is masculine and convincingly a man in appearance. The use of heavy footstep sounds should precede her entrance to display who she is. She is also afraid that her mother, Lin will leave her thus the use of heavy footsteps does not only signify her weight but also her uncertain future as a lesbian’s daughter.
The use of a drumroll takes the play into another level. This drumroll should have been introduced when Lin scolds Martin for not taking care of Cathy. There is uncertainty as to whether Lin will just scolds or will resort to physical means since she has the strength of a man. Tension rises even higher when Martin blurts out that he cannot be held responsible for Cathy since he is not her father, true as this might be, it is a daring move. Thus the use of a drumroll brings in the right amount of suspense that is needed before Lin actually storms offstage to go and deal with the Dead Hand Gang.
When Gerry and Betty start discussing loneliness, this should be seen as the way that the personalities are trying to reach out to the audience as it depicts how homosexuals and bisexuals are treated in the community, they are usually filled with loneliness and fear and uncertainty. Since Gerry and Betty are discussing how lonely they are, a moment of silence could have been appropriate because though it is not sound, it is more important than sound when framed against 2 high notes, Silence can be so piercing, very loud and pronounced, and painful, this is exactly how feeling lonely is like.
Edward has a very conservative father. The audience should commend him for managing to keep his sexuality concealed from Clive for so long. When Betty discovers that Edward is gay and actually frets a little over this newly acquired knowledge, the theme of identity crisis is not fully justified. A whoosh crowd going “ooh ah whooooo ahhh” would have given this moment the weight that it deserves. This is the moment of truth and it shows that no matter how conservative by nature the British are, they cannot control their genes. The use of heavy breathing can be used to show how Betty is taking in this piece of news.
The use of sound in theatre and film can be said to be the glue that binds the act together. It helps the actors as well as the play writers to achieve the message that they are trying to relate to the audience. The use of tempo, harmony and rhythm conveys the mood and emotions that the use of dialogue alone cannot be able to fully convey on its own.
According to Microsoft, “Sound is the audio element of the user experience. When used appropriately, sound can be an effective form of communication that establishes a non-verbal and emotional relationship…” (para. 1). Therefore I can conclude by saying that the use of sound in the play “Cloud 9” was not fully brought out. It is there in bits and pieces yet it lacks the right amount of weight that it is supposed to contain in order to bring the characters to life as well as to relate them to the audience.
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