top of page

The Hobbit

Play By Patricia Gray
Directed by Rob Lauer

Design Statement

Designing a work of high fantasy came as a tremendous opportunity to go all out as a designer. The greatest goal of my design was to use a twisted realism in my soundscapes to draw the audience into our version of Middle Earth. Spanning across a wide array of landscapes and subterranean environments, The Hobbit also requires the implementation of fantastic elements. A theme from Tolkien's original works that I stuck to the most in my design process is that these settings are affected by the creatures that call them home. From the verdant Shire to the arid Goblin Caves and the Sickly Mirkwood forest, the ambient sounds in each reflected the state of both the main company and the denizens they were destined to cross. (Reflected in Gollum's Cave and Smaug's Cavern, on the left above and below.)

The Musical Score of the production was key in driving home the high fantasy setting of the play, binding both my design and the overall aesthetic of the play into one cohesive style. The music had to elevate the action and emotional content of the play as well as carry the audience through transitions, lifting them from one setting and gently, or not so gently, deposit them into the next.

Ambience and Sound Effects

The greatest hurdle of our design team was to create a believable Middle Earth on stage. As the Sound Designer, I had the enjoyable task of developing sound effects ranging from the realistic, such as birdsong and weather, to fantastic sounds, such as the magic of a wizard, the world-altering sounds of The One Ring, and an approaching horde of goblins. Foley played an enormous part in effects building, my favorite example is the Intermission ambience, which featured the Mirkwood Spiders. The disturbing sound of skittering spiders (above, left) was created using a banana and some healthy twigs. My assistant and I made a forray into voice acting for the goblin horde.

Musical Score

Due to the nature of The Hobbit, I found myself in need of a greater degree of control over the music than I had previously required. This process led me to stems: musical scores which are orchestrated and recorded in separate groups, allowing a designer to control the movement of the music, to some extent. Layered tracks from Digital Juice and Pro Scores granted me a heavier hand in how transitions and moments of action developed. I also employed music with a compatible aesthetic, including scores from groups such as Two Steps from Hell.

Qlab(3) Files and Show Cue Sheet Sample

Show Paperwork: Plot, Section, Signal-Block Diagram

bottom of page