Novecento, a play that ran from August through December of 2019 at the Teatro Milan in Mexico City, featured an elegant and simple set and lighting design that focused on leading actor Benny Ibarra as the story unfolded. A 260- seat venue, the Teatro Milan has a built-in sound system, but the play required an innovative, flexible sound design that would provide Ibarra creative flexibility and control.
Ibarra, who is also a successful singer, songwriter and music producer, has a passion and affinity for audio technology and understands the importance of providing an extraordinary audio experience to the audience.
Bringing the play to life and transporting the audience was especially important in this story about an exceptional pianist who was born and lived his entire life aboard a transcontinental cruise ship. Director Mauricio García Lozano and Ibarra discussed how to include the right sound for the play, creating an experience where the audience was fully immersed as sound came from everywhere around them - just like in real life.
Whether it was the realistic sounds of crowds moving about on a pier or the sound of a storm, they wanted to create a modern interpretation of radio theater that was so popular in the first half of the 20th century. In order to do this, they knew they needed a solution that delivered the best sound quality yet was also flexible and directionally customizable and could handle a more complex audio track mix.
The audio solution needed to be easily portable while delivering all the capabilities identified by both Lozano and Ibarra. They decided a combination of the Bose S1 Pro Multi-Position PA system, F1 Model 812 Flexible Array loudspeakers and F1 subwoofers would be the perfect audio solution.
The sound production included eight audio channels active throughout the play, with some scenes requiring up to 48 audio tracks simultaneously overlaid to create a specific atmosphere. Such an immersive sound experience was possible through the proprietary technology available in the Bose portable PA systems, ensuring consistent audio coverage and unsurpassed clarity so the audience shared the same aural experience consistently from show to show.
The coverage pattern for the theater was divided into three sections: the front sections which used a couple of F1 Model 812 flexible array loudspeakers on each side of the stage, each paired with an F1 subwoofer and a third F1 Model 812 suspended from the center top. Coverage for this section was reinforced with sound from four S1 Pro portable loudspeakers, two located on the ceiling above the audience seating. The back section and the mezzanine seating had another eight S1 Pro loudspeakers strategically positioned throughout the two areas. These loudspeakers were employed wirelessly, sending the signal through in-ear monitor receptors plugged to the auxiliary jack on the S1 Pro loudspeakers.
The Bose solution created from a combination of S1 Pro and F1 systems enabled Lozano and Ibarra to create a truly immersive experience for audiences night after night. This tailored audio system was operated by audio engineer Santiago Alvarez, who has worked with Ibarra both in the theater and on touring music shows. Alvarez programmed all the sequences and sound for the eight channels in a system that provided truly portable, flexible, quality sound was indispensable to the play’s success.
Novecento Case Study