The SITI Company takes BOB to Prague

Darron West, The SITI Company, New York, NY
June 2007

In early 2007 The SITI Company was asked by Archa Theatre in Prague if we were interested in returning to present our company's production of BOB, a one man show featuring Will Bond based on the writings of Robert Wilson.

[BOB Rig with Will Bond]

The show, which was developed and workshopped in Prague in 1998, opened in February of the same year at the Wexner Center in Columbus Ohio. For the next three years it was performed all over the world and garnered a 1998 Village Voice Obie Award for its sound design.

[Archa Theatre]

The chance to bring BOB back in 2007 some seven years after its closing performance at the Barbican in London was simply too good to pass up. The chance to reinvestigate and reinvigorate the production, especially in Prague where it all began, was something the entire company was excited to do.

BOB was proudly presented June 07 as a part of the 2007 Prague Quadrennial, a festival showcasing the best of Theatrical Design from all over the world.

When SITI originally went on tour with BOB back in 1998 it was three years of lugging road cases filled with minidisc players from New York to Paris to Dublin to Tbilisi (and all points in between). Plus at that time the limitations of having only minidiscs to play back the cues didn't allow for a flexibility in the design. There were many times on the road I found myself wanting to control the many layers of the soundscape as the show grew and changed from theater to theater, city to city.

Since the advent of QLab (which has now become the primary playback engine for SITI Co. productions) the chance to return to the design to correct some nagging issues was an unbelievable opportunity. I could finally take the show out on the road with the flexibility I dreamed of in 1998. I didn't have to drag a cart of equipment with me; I could simply throw my Mac and an UltraLite in my backpack and head to the airport.

Before the pickup rehearsals began in earnest, the soundscape for BOB was re-mastered in Peak and Digital Performer from the original source files. Once all the audio files made it to the trusty MacBook and the stacks of previous touring sound plots and paperwork were pulled from the archive the rebuilding began in earnest. Once in rehearsals in Prague with the actor I finally had the ability separate the onion skin layers of the design to allow them to be controlled in such a way as to have an even deeper dialogue with the actor in performance. Multi-layer cues that in 1998 were forced to be mixed together could now be separated and more finely tuned from the mix position during the performance.

The system at Archa Theatre consisted of a MacBook Core 2 Duo running eight channels of audio via the MOTU UltraLite to a Midas Heritage 1000 console. The backend of the rig consisted of six Meyer CQ-2's and two Meyer 650 R-2 Subwoofers with system delay and EQ through BSS Omnidrives and Klark Teknik EQ's. All this (and more) in a beautiful room that seats 350.

BOB played three sold out, standing-room-only performances at Archa. With the show running concurrently with the Prague Quadrennial it was a joy to show off QLab to not only the Archa sound crew but to many other designers visiting the festival. Suffice it to say QLab impressed them all.

[BOB Rig with Will Bond] [Darron West]