by Park Theatre
I think I’ve always been very aware of sound, most likely from growing up in a very musical household. I find it easier to concentrate with music playing in the background. I can feel too isolated and alone if I don’t have a radio or something going into my ears and I’m a light sleeper so I wake up at the slightest noise. But I don’t just mean music; I mean the mixture of all types of sounds melded together. I would say there is good noise and bad noise. The bad is repetitive, intrusive and boring. The right kind of noise is the busy sound of people chatting or children playing in the playground at school break-time. It has tones and layers, rhythms and melodies.
This weekend I stayed with a large group of good friends. On Saturday night as we all got stuck in to help prepare dinner and I noticed the hum and soundscape of this scene. Excited, fast talking in many different pitches of people chatting who had not seen each other for ages. The clattering of the cutlery and bubbling water cooking our food. All sprinkled with laughter, jokes and calls out to the host for more instructions. This was all happy sound and busy - filling my ears and enveloping me in warm blanket of friendly bustle.
I think theatre bars can have one of the best soundscapes. After sitting in silence watching a play our ears are then full of the explosion of people sharing their thoughts. This hubbub is one of the most exciting and vibrant: the clamour to hear what your friend is saying whilst catching the odd phrase from another conversation. I love it.
We’ve mentioned Park’s cafe bar quite a bit and it’s important because if we get the sound wrong in there - the type of music being played (live or recorded) at different times of day and night, the volume, the quality - then the atmosphere will be altered. This could be the difference between people wishing to hang out and wishing to run up the road elsewhere. It’s a pretty subjective thing. I know people who barely notice or are bothered by any sounds and others who are very particular about any kind of sound or noise and its place in time and space and volume.
...And with all this lovely sound there is always the joy and contented sigh from quietness...from pausing after a busy day or seeing lots of people.
When is it okay to talk over music? When do you need to concentrate too hard to block out an irritating sound?
Let us know your views on what soundscape you’d like your ears filled with at Park.