Do You Trust Me
Audio Drama By Summer Savonna Session
Directed by Cybelle Kaehler
Do You Trust Me?
Do You Trust Me, written by Summer Savonna Session and directed by Cybelle Kaehler, is a nostalgic flashback story set in the late 90’s. Leon, the narrator, tells us the story of meeting his best friend and how that relationship eventually became strained by their favorite pass-time. After meeting in Middle School, the two have become fast friends and developed a tradition of exploring supposedly haunted buildings and hunting for cryptids. In High School, this, of course, develops into a ruse to get girls, and the body of our story takes place during just such an excursion. Leon and his best friend, Ty, take their girlfriends, Rita and Jess, to a warehouse owned by Ty’s uncle, prepared with alien-themed props, traps, and sound effects to scare Jess, and in that warehouse they encounter… something they do not expect.
The task of sound for this story was to help support the world and ground the vocal performance in a believable, but not wholly realistic space. From the tense beginning of the play, a highly cinematic clash between friends during a thunderstorm, to the cafeteria in which they originally met, and eventually the Warehouse. Through the combination of recorded audio effects, and synthesized sounds, the ‘scenery’ of the play is established. This becomes the most important during the warehouse scenes, in which sound constructs and warps the space to reflect the mood and tension of the characters while hinting that all is not as it seems. One of the most interesting challenges of this is the balancing act of building a supernatural suspense without confirming in one way or another whether there is truly anything unnatural present.
As the core of the play, the vocals stood central at all times. A few different methods were employed to land the dialogue and narration firmly within the soundscapes built for them. Primarily, the use of different reverb effects brought the characters into the different spaces that they flashed back to: the Cafeteria and the Warehouse. In addition, there was a need to separate the voice of Leon into narrator and character. This was accomplished by isolating the lines that he spoke as narrator, keeping them clean of any forementioned reverb. Then, combined with a more intimate vocal performance from the actor, a tube-modeled compressor was added to support the warmth of those lines. A final trick was used to layer very subtle processing onto some of the characters as the story progressed… but that would be spoilers.