Boston (September 26, 2006)–Boston’s annual Free Shakespeare on the Common presented The Taming of the Shrew this year, making use of Sennheiser wireless microphone systems in the process.
“We strive to make each year better than the year before, not just artistically and creatively, but technically,” said Mike Mayo, head audio engineer for Free Shakespeare on the Common. “We’re almost striving for studio-level perfection outside, without a single line of dialogue lost in a dropout, if possible. Our Sennheiser wireless systems are putting us within reach of that goal.”
Outfitted with 20 Sennheiser MKE 2- lavalier microphones, connecting to 14 Sennheiser SK-50U and six SK-5012U bodypack transmitters, EM 3032 and 3252 receivers, plus two A 5000-CP passive helical antennas, the shows played to Boston audiences of 5,000-plus each evening.
Mayo worked closely with Wang Center vice president of artistic programming Steven Maler, sound designer Jay Hagenbuckle, production manager Thom Kaufmann and CJ Danek of Matrix1 Audio, and Talamas’ David Talamas to design the system. “Shakespeare is all about dialogue,” Mayo opined. “If you miss one word, then sometimes the sentence or the whole scene doesn’t make sense. The audio mix for this show is particularly challenging, since there’s a lot of comedic side notes and characters talking under their breath, which I have to incorporate into the mix.
“Additionally, with this outdoor show, there are people sitting far enough away that they can’t see what’s going on. Instead they’re out there with a picnic blanket, just listening to the show, and a fully-functioning wireless microphone system is critical to ensuring that they can follow along. The Sennheiser MKE mics are very clear and crisp sounding. They’re a perfect complement to the SK-50U and SK-5012U bodypack transmitters, which were low-profile enough to put on some of the actresses that were wearing skintight dresses with almost no place to put a microphone. The transmitters maintained excellent sound quality to the Sennheiser A 5000-CP antennas, which were placed at distances of 15 and 50 feet from the stage.”