Liquid Penguin Ensemble

"Der Fall Sola" /("The case Sola") is speech-music-performance with a live-illustrator.

This performance is mainly about language in general, its development and use.
Language is expressed not only with words but also with musical and graphical elements during this performance. Although language is the topic, spoken words and all other elements are of equal importance in the play.

Special challenges / difficulties:
The actors on stage are: voice, viola, violoncello, double bass , piano , illustrator and a choir. One fact that had to be considered was that everybody on stage would change their positions very often. Because all movements on stage where important for the play almost everybody in the audience should be able to track that action acoustically. This was one of the big challenges for the sound design. Beside that the listeners should never have the impression that there was a sound reinforcement system in use. Another important detail in setting up the sound system and doing the mix was giving the audience the impression that all sounds came from its original position on stage and not from before or behind the stage at all times.

After the first planning it became clear that all the venues in which it was planned to play had very different acoustical conditions. My aim was to find an audio setup that fitted with very little adaptation all the requirements for the production in every venue. To achieve this I decided not to use a classical monitor system. The play needed some kind of "monitoring" anyway. So, in the play, for example, there were parts that were soft as whispering but everybody on stage had to be able to hear them well. As a solution I put three small loudspeakers on stands to the rear edge of the stage. These loudspeakers became virtually my main-speaker-system and represented the acoustical zero-line. But the level of these loudspeakers had to be kept as low as possible because all the microphones had to work in front of them. So it was leveled up just right to the point that everybody on stage could hear them well enough. This idea was the ideal solution to solve two problems. This loudspeakers setup gave me the advantage. to create an audio-impulse that drew the acoustical image into the stage area. But the acoustical output of these loudspeakers was not enough to supply the whole audience with sound. The necessary L/R-house-reinforcement-system had to be supported by front-fill- and sometimes with delay-loudspeakers. Additionaly we had some effect loudspeakers on stage. To keep the acoustical-runtime of the microphone-signals as low as possible I decided to bring the microphone-signals directly into the digital domain and remained there until the amplifiers. For the reason that all actors were permanently moving on stage it was clear that nearly all pickups had to be wireless. The following set up was a logical consequence of the previously defined aims. As wireless-pick up-system we choose a combination DPA/Shure-ULXD which we fed directly into a Dante-system digitally. As mixing board I decided to have a Yamaha QL1 with direct connection to Dante. Even some necessary playbacks were done via virtual soundcard directly into the system. One of the biggest challenges for the reinforcement was a realistic mapping of the sound-sources to their real positions on stage. And that should be archived for as many as possible listeners. It was impossible to use a classical intensity based panorama leveling for that task. Instead I used a relatively complex acoustical runtime mapping for this purpose (see Eurovision Young Musicians 2014/2016). This technique enabled me to keep the tracking to the original positions of the sound sources for almost the entire listener area.


Liquid Penguin Ensemble:

  • Katharina Bihler(voice, performance)
  • Monika Bagdonaite (viola)
  • Kaorie Nomura (pianor)
  • Julien Blondel (violoncello)
  • Stefan Scheib (composition, double base)
  • Klaus Harth (live-drawing)
  • & a local choir
  • Holger Stedem (sound design)
  • Ulrich Schneider (light/room)


 more pictures


Project site "DER FALL SOLA" von LIQUID PENGUIN ensemble