Andrew Perry has been the Company Stage Manager at Pollyanna Theatre Company for over seven years now. He’s also the sound designer for Pollyanna’s latest production, Peter and the Piper, which runs from July 12-20 in the Rollins Studio Theatre.
As the Company Stage Manager for the Pollyanna Theatre Company, I have an extremely unique perspective on the development of every play we produce. Each show brings new challenges, new ideas, and new delights, and Holly Hepp-Galvan’s original play Peter and the Piper is no exception. This production takes the classic story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin and twists his talents into the more modern musical forms of hip-hop and rap. And, instead of playing the pipes he “pipes up” and uses rhythm and rhymes to sway the young people of the town to follow him.
Through the years as a stage manager for several companies in Austin, that unique perspective I mentioned has allowed me to watch and learn from some of the finest actors, directors, writers, and designers. These lucky observations have provided opportunities for me to branch out my own artistic skills in a wide variety of ways. One of my latest pursuits has been sound design and, as luck would have it, Pollyanna was in need of just such a person for this production.
While I certainly have enjoyed a few hip-hop and rap artists over the years, the genres are not my best Jeopardy topics. Taking the poetry of Holly’s written script and finding the right music and beats to allow an actor to translate it into live-performed rap is extremely intimidating. I can’t help but identify with the character Peter as he panics at the prospect of battling the Piper at his own game. “I don’t know how to rap!” That may be so, but like Peter I am not one to back down just due to a lack of previous particular experience. Life throws these tests at you and it’s either sink or swim. Or, in this case, flop or flow.
Normally in rehearsals, one of my great personal joys is getting to watch professionals play and discover. There is nothing quite like witnessing a truly talented actor really dive into a character and bring him or her to life. The more quirky or challenging the role, the greater the exhilaration of watching the transformations. With this show, that joy is two-fold. I am fortunate enough to be a party to marvelous performances as well as help provide the score over which they perform. This experience is second only to having penned the play’s words themselves, which happens to be another luxury Pollyanna has afforded me.
Even if I hadn’t been tasked with bringing the music to the table, I have no fear that this show will be yet another remarkable feather in the cap of Austin’s finest children’s theatre company. This extraordinarily talented team has all the skills to deliver a platinum record production. I’m proud to show my Pollyanna colors. Word.
Peter and the Piper opens July 12 in the Rollins Theatre and runs until July 20. Discount tickets are available!