Now in its 11th Season of use, the Meyer rig at The Delacorte has been stupendous, earning raves from artists, critics, and audiences every year. The sound system is lauded for its vocal & musical clarity and transparency, and the equalization, delay & levels settings from original SIM Session performed by Mark Menard in 2001 remains unaltered to this day.
The Meyer UPA-1 was the perfect choice with it's great fidelity, wide dispersion, and light weight. Unfortunately, the UPA had just been replaced in Meyer's line by the self-powered UPA-1P. The idea of hanging 17 120V amplifiers out in the rain and blistering sun all summer seemed like dodgy prospect, but we wanted the qaulity & coverage, so we ran it by the factory. They said, "Sure, no problem. We can build you weatherproof UPAs and UPM Front Fills." And they did.
Shakespeare's work is densely packed with complex sounds and unfamiliar modes of speech-- and the audience must hear absolutely every word to follow the tale despite rain, wind, sweat, sirens, helicopters, and the occasional rogue raccoon year after year.
The Delacorte is totally exposed to the elements, and located in the middle of one of the noisiest cities on earth. The seating is arranged in a 160 degree arc around the stage, and there is no overhead structure above from which to suspend a loudspeaker cluster. The thrust stage pretty much guarantees that a speaking actor will have his or her back to some portion of the audience many times during the night.
Outdoor performance poses unique challenges for sound system designers. It includes protecting the gear from the elements, ensuring that operations will not generate complaints from neighbors, and finally deals with delivering a good show to every audience member with superb fidelity and appropriate loudness.
In 2001, Acme was commissioned to design a new sound reinforcement system for the theatre in preparation for an upcoming Production of Chekhov's The Seagull, directed by Mike Nichols, and starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, John Goodman, Natalie Portman, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken and Marsha Gay Harden-- no pressure though!
Tickets are free and distributed on a strict first come, first served basis. The Festival attracts the very best actors, directors and designers from the film and theater world, and it is not uncommon for ticket queues to start forming at 7am on performance days. In addition to Shakespeare's plays, the Festival presents classics by other playwrights and, occasionally, musicals including the recent revival of HAIR , which was originally produced by The Public Theatre, the Festival's downtown theatre, in 1967.
The summer home of the New York Shakespeare Festival is the 1,892 seat open air Delacorte Theatre in New York City's Central Park. Established by Joseph Papp in 1962 to bring the Bard's work to a wider audience, the Festival's offerings are seen by 100,000 annually.
New York Shakespeare Festival
Central Park NYC, NY
Sound System Design & Optimization