Professor Composes Music for "The Good Book"

Occidental College adjunct professor and well-known music composer Bruno Louchouarn created the musical score and sound design for the play, "The Good Book of Pedantry and Wonder," which runs through August 29 at Pasadena's Boston Court Theater.

 

Described as "a deliciously witty exploration of the very special misery only the smartest family members can inflict upon one another," the play is set in 1880s Oxford, England, in a damp garden shed grandly called a "scriptorium." The play is about wordsmith James Murray, the first editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, his complicated relationships with his daughter, Jane, and his prodigal son, James, and the "Sisyphean task" of creating the OED, which now spans 20 volumes and is considered the authority on the evolution of the English language.

"The Good Book of Pedantry and Wonder" was written by British playwright Toby Pomerance and is co-produced by Los Angeles's Circle X Theatre Company. Shows began on July 22 and continue through Sunday, August 29 at the Boston Court Theater, 70 N. Mentor Ave., in Pasadena. More information about the production and tickets can be found at: http://www.bostoncourt.com/events/61/the-good-book-of-pedantry-and-wonder.

Louchouarn, the director of Occidental's Keck Language and Culture Studio and an adjunct assistant music professor, used instruments such as the violin, viola, piano, and harp to create the musical score. He also used rain, thunder, bird song, and other aural elements to complete the play's soundscape, which evoke emotions from melancholy to hope. For example, the scriptorium is characterized by musical textures that Louchouarn calls "grains of sound."

"I created a sound world where the boundary between the sound design and music is permeable," he said.

The music, Louchouarn added, supports the main structural ideas of the play--the unending grind of compiling and organizing words and their definitions, human relationships, the desire for recognition, bittersweet hope, and the fleeting sense of freedom.

He performed and recorded the score with a handful of professional musicians. They include internationally renowned violinist Alyssa Park and violist Mark Menzies, a chamber musician and a violin and viola professor at California Institute of the Arts. Occidental theater major Lauren Rhodes '11 interned for Louchouarn on this production.

Jessica Kubzansky, the co-artistic director of the Boston Court Theater, contacted Louchouarn earlier this year in hopes he would compose the score and sound design. He agreed after reading the script and talking to principal players such as John Langs, the director for "The Good Book." (Michael Michetti is co-artistic director of Boston Court Theater.)

"The script is full of interesting stuff," Louchouarn said. "There's a really intricate world there that you can't wait to get into."

To hear musical excerpts from "The Good Book of Pedantry and Wonder," go to: http://web.mac.com/blouchou/iWeb/Bruno%20Louchouarn/GBPW.html.

For more information about the play and tickets, go to: http://www.bostoncourt.com/events/61/the-good-book-of-pedantry-and-wonder.