Guest Blogger: Cheyenne Dalton

Guest Blogger: Cheyenne Dalton Cheyenne Dalton is a junior BFA: Theatre Design and Technology major at Auburn University with a focus in sound design and engineering. She has long been a writer, winning awards at state and regional levels, and having been published in an anthology of student voices. In her spare time, she enjoys wedding and lifestyle photography and painting.


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BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - Giving DROWSY A New MeaningBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - Giving DROWSY A New Meaning
Posted: Mar. 20, 2017


BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - When Clothes RipBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - When Clothes Rip
Posted: Nov. 15, 2016


BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - The Best Thing About Being a Theatre MajorBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - The Best Thing About Being a Theatre Major
Posted: Jan. 9, 2017


BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - John Cage, Performance Art, and Sound DesignBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - John Cage, Performance Art, and Sound Design
Posted: Nov. 8, 2016


BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - Giving DROWSY A New MeaningBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - Giving DROWSY A New Meaning
March 20, 2017

I was the assistant sound designer and the sound engineer for Auburn University Theatre's production of The Drowsy Chaperone. My duties ran from paperwork, to recordings, to sound pick-up, load-in, running the show, and strike. The sound designer was Anthony Narciso, who we have hired three times previously to design sound for our shows. I am still amazed at how much he can teach me, and how much I still have to learn, regardless of how well I'm doing at sound at the moment. There is never a moment when I want to stop learning about my field, or really when I want to stop learning in general. There is always going to be someone out there who knows more than I do, and it's not as threatening as it may seem. It's a challenge, yes, but also a wonderful experience of sharing and collaborating with what we know. I'm happy to announce that now I know what microphone Mariah Carey wants for her performances, and I know why she wants that, and why it matters. I can tell you what a line array is, and I've learned so much more about EQ than I thought I was going to during the run of The Drowsy Chaperone (like how bringing down a frequency will notch out those harsh "s" sounds, and how I should always cut out the low end of the frequencies).

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - The Best Thing About Being a Theatre MajorBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - The Best Thing About Being a Theatre Major
January 9, 2017

I bet you think I'll say "built in friends" or "fun classes" or "hanging out in the green room" or "doing shows," and while all of those things are great and mostly true, none of those things are the best thing about being a theatre major.

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - THE NUTCRACKER or the Week of FinalsBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - THE NUTCRACKER or the Week of Finals
December 14, 2016

Every year, Auburn University Theatre hosts the East Alabama Community Ballet's The Nutcracker in early December. For the past three years, I have been a part of this process, running sound for many dress rehearsals, performances, oftentimes morning shows, and tea parties. It truly is an experience. From Monday to Sunday this year, I worked 40 hours, which sounds like a pretty normal workweek for the average person. Except I am a full-time student, and this is in the middle of finals week.

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - AU Singers or The Weekend Before FinalsBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - AU Singers or The Weekend Before Finals
December 5, 2016

So, around this time of year, AU Singers, Auburn University's Showchoir, is gearing up for performances. This December, their lineup included Believe from The Polar Express, The Christmas Can-Can, and Jailhouse Rock, among many other songs. People from all over the campus are involved in Singers - from music education, to theatre, to applied discrete mathematics, engineering, economics, and biomedical sciences. They all have very distinct personalities, and it's nice to seem them working together to get their show to be the best it can be. The common goal really brings them together in a way that they focus mostly on the group ensemble.

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - When Clothes RipBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - When Clothes Rip
November 15, 2016

Currently, I'm working on an adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It's been one of my favorite stories since the first time I read it in high school, and I was interested to see it adapted on stage. Somehow, I'm not running sound for this show, so I picked up being a dresser instead. I've been a dresser once before, and the time constraint really stressed me out. But, I decided to try it out again. I've learned a lot doing this show - mainly because I truly understand my job now. The last time, I was running around, lost and confused. But I've learned a lot.

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - John Cage, Performance Art, and Sound DesignBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - John Cage, Performance Art, and Sound Design
November 8, 2016

John Cage, an American composer, music theorist, writer, philosopher, and artist, was interested in finding and collecting ordinary sounds to use; he wanted to capture and control them to use them as musical instruments. His pieces included normal objects as the instruments, something previously rejected in terms of art and in terms of sound. Most of the people who are interested in sound, then and now, would use the things he recorded in the field as sound effects: a car driving at 50 miles per hour, rain, or the static between radio stations. But instead, he used them to create music. A Chicago critic wrote about one of his concerts and the musicians' use of "beer bottles, flowerpots, cowbells, and automobile brake drums" to create a musical piece some might call noise, but one that John Cage called music.

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - AdrenalineBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - Adrenaline
October 28, 2016

If you're a theatre major, chances are all your classes are in the same building, and all the work you do is in the theater. We're oftentimes "stuck" here - spending the breaks of our days in the green room or design studios, doing homework, reading, designing. When I get the chance to work or do something outside of my confined space, I take it.

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - A Woman in SoundBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - A Woman in Sound
October 20, 2016

This semester, I am taking a Writing for TV and Film class - which means that I'm writing a script for a movie. I tossed around different ideas, as did every student in the class, and we tried to find the simplest idea and most interesting idea in which to write our very first script. Anna, our professor, told us to think about things we know, because those are going to be easiest to write about. I couldn't write about the life of a congressman, because I don't know anything about that. I don't know any congressmen. I don't know what they do, and even if I did a lot of research, I probably still couldn't get the dialogue just right, or the lingo. So I bet you can guess what I chose to write about.

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - The Theatricality of ConcertsBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - The Theatricality of Concerts
October 14, 2016

Very recently, I drove from Auburn to Atlanta to see one of my favorite bands at The Tabernacle - Two Door Cinema Club - and not only did I end up falling in love with them even more, but I also fell in love with Jack Garratt, who was opening for them. My friend Josh and I went together, because neither of us know anybody in Auburn who likes the same music we do - but I ended up seeing my friend and fellow sound designer, Carl, there also!

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - Post-Audible SeparationBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - Post-Audible Separation
September 27, 2016

This time last year, I met my friend Anthony Narciso. He was contracted to be the sound designer for Playhouse Creatures, a show that I was running sound for. We didn't know it at the time, but we were to become thick as thieves and become the best sound team there has ever been (okay, maybe we're a little biased). We share sound effects, projects, and ideas - a good mark of two sound designer best friends. We created a shared dropbox folder - and titled it Anthony and Cheyenne Sing Sound Shanty's. Probably the most important folder we have inside our sound shanty's is our sound dictionary. We've just been taking ordinary words and using them to define events and happenings that we find in the world of sound. For example, the first definition we came up with was for 'Smashed,' which is defined as 'the poor mixing of a track, only possible when patching a fisher price keyboard into a cassette tape recorder and mixed with low quality YouTube,' and this definition spawned from a show choir performance in which I received a terribly recorded track to play.

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - The Foreigner, and the Beauty of Sound DesignBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - The Foreigner, and the Beauty of Sound Design
September 19, 2016

For most shows by closing, I'm sitting at the soundboard, tired of hearing the dialogue: I'm memorizing the beats in the actors voices, tracing out lines on my palms, you name it. Running a show for two weeks will end up with me either hanging on the edge of my seat out of love and adoration, or out of dying, death, and despair. The Foreigner by Larry Shue, however, is my favorite show. I never get tired of watching it, of running it, of listening to the dialogue while I'm sitting by the board. When done well, the show is hilarious, sweet, tear-jerking at times (maybe I'm emotional), and just plain enjoyable. I am typically fonder of straight plays for sound design (although I do love mixing a live orchestra with actors) because of the incredible liberties I can take. Of course, most straight plays are realistic, so there's not a ton of magical orb sounds or dragon's roars, but I do have a recording of Sowing In The Morning played on the Harmonica for The Foreigner, as well as car horns, 40 minutes of rain, and an explosion. And maybe it's me, but I love these effects.

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - ConnectingBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - Connecting
September 12, 2016

Last year, I took a digital performance art class. And to be totally honest, I didn't think that I would love it, and sometimes I didn't love it. It forced me to step outside my comfort zone and put myself out there as both a designer and as a person presenting my designs. I spent long hours in the computer lab compositing this video - a video I never thought I would make.

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - Quiet Desperation, or The Lives That Men LeadBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - Quiet Desperation, or The Lives That Men Lead
September 6, 2016

People want art - that's inevitable. Art is entertainment, and entertainment is consumable, and therefore art is good. People want to watch movies, indie films, television. They want to come to the theatre to show off their cultured lives, and they want to brag about it. People want music to listen to in the car, while they're working, running, sleeping. They want to go to art museums; they want pottery and paintings in their houses. Students want tapestries hanging up in their first apartment, and they want to read books and magazines and comics.

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - The Moment I Realized I Knew NothingBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - The Moment I Realized I Knew Nothing
August 29, 2016

I was sitting in a black plastic chair in a room with maybe seven other people, one that I knew, and six that I did not. I have sat in this exact chair before, and it was the exact chair that I sat in during my freshman required acting class. At that time, it was a chair I was unfamiliar with, in the front row, and shortly after that first day it reminded me of the things I did not know and did not desire to know. But this time was different.

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - 580 MilesBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - 580 Miles
August 18, 2016

I'm sure everyone knows the challenges that come with designing any given show - there's the actual design, the communication of the design, the (most-likely) compromise of the design, public relations, paperwork, implementation of the design, dry tech, cue to cue, 10 out of 12, dress rehearsals, previews and then opening night. Can you imagine not being at the theatre to work on your show, not being able to talk to other designers in person, not being there to see or hear how your design was affecting the show? I can.

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - How to Survive Your First Year of Collegiate Technical TheatreBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - How to Survive Your First Year of Collegiate Technical Theatre
August 12, 2016

With the start of a new semester right around the corner, I began thinking about the new technicians and design students who are starting their freshman year at Auburn. I was very bright-eyed when I was a freshman, only having done community theatre up until that point, without any other exposure to theatre. I was pretty lost, if I have to be honest. I have compiled a list of tips that I wish I'd had on my first day.

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - Why Sound?BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - Why Sound?
August 8, 2016

One day, I was in rehearsal, and one of my friends asked me, "Why sound?" And that's when I really started to think about why sound?

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - Theatre Makes Us HumanBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - Theatre Makes Us Human
July 25, 2016

As someone who came from a family of electrical linemen and bankers and contract specialists, started out pre-vet in middle school, detoured to pre-med in high school, and finally to theatre - not only did my career choice fail to reach the goals previously set for me by my peers, my teachers, and my parents, but I was left with a huge question: does what I do make a valuable contribution to this world and society?

BWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - How Theatre Helped Me Remodel a HouseBWW Blog: Cheyenne Dalton - How Theatre Helped Me Remodel a House
July 11, 2016

I just remodeled a house. I know what you're thinking: this article belongs on some HGTV forum about flipping houses with your family. But hear me out.