Sean Bowie (RMTC)
As a sound improviser, I am the sound operator for a show that hasn't been written yet.
—Sean Bowie, sound improviser
The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre production of Blind Date has been playing to sold out audiences. Besides the comedic talents of the woman who play Mimi, the highly improvised play also features the talents of Sean Bowie. He's the stage manager and sound improviser.
Sean Bowie was born in Winnipeg and grew up in Souris. This is his first production with RMTC after having worked in Calgary and Portland, Oregon.
SCENE asked Sean to describe the challenges of life on the fly:
A sound improviser is not like any job I have ever had. I'm a performer, director and writer by trade. I have occasionally dabbled on the technical side of things but nothing like this. As a sound improviser, I am the sound operator for a show that hasn't been written yet. Basically I have a laptop loaded up with music and sound effects and prepare myself to react to whatever the scene or situation calls for.
Loose Moose, the improv company where all of us trained, is truly unique in its approach as they consider everyone an improviser. The backstage people are what they call 'scenographers' and they improvise sets from a backstage full of options to create onstage settings at the drop of a hat. The lighting people improvise lights and the sound person improvises sound effects.
What all this means for Blind Date is that I have to be ready and waiting for opportunities to contribute to the scene. I look for ways to enhance the world of the play. It might mean underscoring a moment with some romantic music, providing sound effects for a car chase or supplying music to cover transitions.
Blind Date is a truly unique blend of improvisation and theatre. And while the lovely and supremely talented Rebecca Northan drives the bus, every member of the company is an improviser and a member of the team. Perhaps more than any other production I've worked on. I am the eyes out front; I have witnessed over 200 dates and I have never -- ever -- been anything less than fascinated. This once in a lifetime opportunity to see this theatrical and social experiment unfold in front of me has been, and continues to be, an exhilarating experience and one of the most unique challenges of my career.
I look forward to the next 200 ...
Blind Date, a "fly by the seat of your pants fusion of clown, improvisation, theatre and social experiment" runs until April 21 at RMTC's Tom Hendry Warehouse.