Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sound, Music, Shakespeare, Fletcher -- and Cochrane


Our Artistic Director Bob Hall recently saw Henry VIII in DC at the Elizabethan Theatre of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. Bob reports that the play is “Not Shakespeare’s best – or even Fletcher’s – but a great production with a wonderful performance by Ian Peakes as Henry.” The show’s run has been extended and the Washington Post has provided a nice look behind the scenes:

by Jane Horwitz, November 3, 2010

If you’re impressed when actor Anthony Cochrane has an emotional breakdown, confesses his sins and finds God again as Cardinal Wolsey in the Folger Theatre’s Henry VIII, you may be surprised to learn that he also composed the music and did the sonic design for the show, which has been extended through Nov. 28.

Cochrane and the show’s director, Robert Richmond, worked with New York’s Aquila Theatre for a number of years and went to the same college in Scotland. And with Tony-winning costume designer William Ivey Long, who did the duds for Henry VIII, they've collaborated on the historical play The Lost Colony in North Carolina. The Scottish-born, New York-based actor says he and Richmond have strong ideas – partly taken from their years with the experimental Aquila troupe – of how music and sound should be used.

In a garden scene, for example, Cochrane says, “it’s not just enough to have some birds. We have to find English birds and we have to find 10 different versions and you have to locate them in different speakers all around the house.”

Cochrane wrote original music, as well as a variation on a tune by amateur composer Henry VIII himself. Musical savants may recognize Cochrane’s altered strains of Henry’s “Pass Time With Good Company.” Cochrane composed much of his music after rehearsal. “You rehearse as an actor from 10 till 7, or 11 till 7, and then I go into a darkened room, probably the dressing room . . . and then I work till 4:30 in the morning and then come home,” Cochrane says. He’s still recovering. “What's nice is you get to use both sides of your brain. You work as an interpretive artist and the creative artist in the same day.”

Cochrane says the Folger Theatre “has a place in my heart” because that’s where he met his wife, Jessica Perlmeter Cochrane. Originally from Barnesville, she was an intern at the Folger while he appeared in Aquila’s Julius Caesar a decade ago. Now living in New York, they have an 11-month-old son. Jessica is a company manager at Lincoln Center.

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