David Byrne and Fatboy Slim Triumph in Seattle with 'Here Lies Love'
“Here Lies Love” is an immersive theatrical and musical experience like no other. Produced by the Seattle Repertory Theatre with concept and lyrics by Talking Heads founder David Byrne who also wrote the music with British DJ Fatboy Slim, the show charts the life and times of former first lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, retracing her meteoric rise to power and subsequent descent into infamy and disgrace at the end of the People Power Revolution.
The show originally premiered to acclaim Off-Broadway in 2013. Set within a dance club atmosphere, the disco-musical had no traditional seating and theatregoers mingled with the actors throughout the show. The Seattle production offers seating for those who’d like it in galleries surrounding the main floor area as well as standing-only room on the floor itself which features a central (moving) stage as well as the traditional proscenium stage.
Universally hailed as a huge success with its innovative staging and stellar performances, the show directed by Alex Timbers has already seen its original run extended by a further three weeks as Broadway beckons... Clearly the audio element of a production like this is of paramount importance. Sound designer Cody Spencer and associate designer Tony Gayle turned to Masque Sound who provided a full EM Acoustics PA system based on HALO-C and EMS-51s.
“We used two hangs of six HALO-C elements for the vocal centre speakers and sixteen EMS-51s for gallery delays, plus four i-12 subs for the Band stage,” explained Gayle. “I was very impressed with the clarity and smoothness of the HALO-C. It’s the first time I’ve used it on a production like this and it performed amazingly well, giving us all the vocal presence we needed, even with the volume running over 95dB at times.”
He was equally pleased with the EMS-51s, an ultra-compact passive loudspeaker designed for use in situations where compact size is as important as sonic performance. “We had a lot of speakers to fit into a small space and the EMS-51s were an ideal choice – they allowed us to achieve optimum vocal coverage in the galleries with minimal intrusion.”
“It was really refreshing to see speakers from an independent UK manufacturer being used on a US show that may very well end up on Broadway,” concluded Gayle. “It’s fair to say EM Acoustics wasn’t our first choice, but given the performance of HALO-C in particular, I’m anything but disappointed – on the contrary, I was genuinely impressed and wouldn’t hesitate to use it again.”