The cast of When I Come To Die is small - only five people - but there's one scene in particular in which the prison suddenly becomes much more populated. We call it the riot scene (although one character in the show rejects this and calls it instead 'a bunch of guys yelling'). And indeed, you'll hear many different voices of the other prisoners on Death Row. But if you're wondering who those voices belong to... well, lets just say it's a very small cell block.
Yes, every one of the voices you hear in the riot scene is one of the actors you see onstage. Our brilliant sound designer, Jill BC Du Boff, recorded all the guys yelling various things (you might hear, among the clanging of bars and the sirens, one voice yelling that the prison should be cleaned up, another calling to be let out of his cage, and another telling everybody to shut up so he can get some sleep), then put each voice through her magical sound devices. The most prominent voice, Eddie, who actually has two scripted lines, sounds like he would be the cellblock bruiser, and you can't help imagining a giant scary tough guy. Who is Eddie? It's actually the voice of our own gentle and kind Father Adrian Crouse, Neal Huff.
My favorite touch, though, came when Jill decided to throw in a nod to the cat adoption program in Indiana State Prison (which I talk a little about in blogpost #4). So thrown into the mix of the riot is a cameo by Jill's own cat, Lexington. And lest you think Lexington is an amateur, Jill tells me he lent his vocal talents to the Second Stage revival of King Hedley II (as the Ghost Cat) and a puppet production of Peer Gynt that Jill designed for the Portland Stage in Maine (he was the Monster). And as befits his status as a cat voiceover star, he will only meow on cue for a can of tuna.
Anika Chapin is the Assistant Director for WHEN I COME TO DIE, and the author of bloggledygook.wordpress.com.