What Every Girl Should Know

Monica Byrne's What Every Girl Should Know was a real pleasure. The text was both relatable and strange and the all female production team, led by Jenna Duncan was an honor to be part of. The piece is set in the 1910s and the text calls for several dance sequences and we decided to go bold with music by Tanya Tagaq, Cris Derksen, A Tribe Called Red, and a remix of a Roomful of Teeth recording. This music was paired with exuberant, quirky, visceral choreography by Paige Hernandez. We used a quad system with two subs to give equal power to both sides of the set's alley configuration.

Broadway World "Ms. Duncan's stellar direction is accompanied by emotional choreography by Paige Hernandez, accompanied by Sarah O'Halloran's disturbingly awesome anachronistic sound design.”
Washington Post “Both sophistication and innocence seem to figure in the ecstatic dances that Joan, Anne, Lucy and Theresa break into periodically. Part Dionysian trance, part “Lord of the Flies”-style release, the dances — choreographed by Paige Hernandez, to wonderfully unnerving music — are among the eerie phenomena apparently triggered by the characters’ veneration of Sanger.”

DJ Corey Photography

DJ Corey Photography


My first show of 2017 was Trevor by Nick Jones at 1st Stage in Tysons Corner. This production was a fun challenge which required me to create mysterious transition music, a cheesy tv theme song, and the sound of a chimp attempting to drive a corvette. We used a 7.1 system (with an additional wireless speaker) to place sounds outside the house, to create an immersive effect when Trevor performs for a live studio audience, and for a believable onstage television and crying baby.

DC Metro Theater Arts "equal parts emotional and thought-provoking".
DC Metro Theater Arts "A technical aspect of Trevor’ that beguiled me was the sound design by Sarah O’Halloran which was mood-setting from my first hearing the pre-show music with melancholy banjo tunes from Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck."
The Connection “Trevor’s” sound design by Sarah O’Halloran is mood-setting beginning with preshow music with melancholy banjo tunes from Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck.

Anne of the Thousand Days

In the fall of 2016, I had the opportunity to join another all female production team on Anne of the Thousand Days at Chesapeake Shakespeare. We were led by director, Kasi Campbell.  The play tells the, fairly fictionalized, story of the tumultuous relationship of Anne Boleyn and Henry VII. This was quite an involved project for me as the text referred to real music by Henry VII, which I had to source and arrange for the available musicians, and required original music that would be attributed to Henry. Since Henry's music looms large in the story, I decided to make it a big part of the rest of the sound design. I used recordings of his pieces for most of the transitions, occasionally branching out to the work of composers associated with his court. I also used material from his compositions to create more abstract electronic music for underscoring.

Photography by Teresa Castracane

Photography by Teresa Castracane

Baltimore Sun: “Kristina Lambdin's costumes aren't the only things evoking time and place — sound designer Sarah O'Halloran makes great use of music composed by, or attributed to, Henry VIII.

DC Metro Theater Arts: “Singling out just a few of these artists, I have to point to the excellent work done by Costume Designer Kristina Lambdin, Set Designer Kathryn Kawecki, and Sound Designer Sarah O’Halloran…O’Halloran utilizes music written by real-life King Henry VIII, as well as her own original compositions and arrangements, throughout the play. The result of O’Halloran and Music Director Grace Srinivasan’s musical choices is an engaging, period-appropriate soundscape.”

DC Theatre Scene: a trio of musicians (Matthew Ancarrow, James Jager, Kate Forton) do lovely work not only with their varied comic and dramatic scenes, but also with the arrangements and compositions of sound designer Sarah O’Halloran..."

Listed as one of the DCMetroTheaterArts’ Best of 2016 #4: Best Plays in Professional Theaters in DC/MD/VA

When the Rain Stops Falling

In February 2016 I worked with director, Michael Dove, on Andrew Bovell's When the Rain Stops Falling at 1st Stage. When the Rain Stops Falling is the kind of play I particularly love working on. It's a very literary piece that blends realism and fantasy in a complex structure. This allows designers to make intriguing connections between themes and characters. The sound design was created for a 4.1 set up. The sound of rain is very important in this piece and having the option of surround sound allowed me to create indoor and outdoor effects in a pretty natural way. 

Connection Newspapers called the production designs "seamlessly top-notch". 
DC Metro Theater Arts called the sound design " subtle and lovely".
Broadway World called the production "truly compelling and extraordinary."
Listed as one of the DCMetroTheaterArts’ Best of 2016 #4: Best Plays in Professional Theaters in DC/MD/VA
Nominated for Best Play in Broadwayworld.com's Washington DC Awards.

Opening Sequence. Photo by Brittany Dilberto. 

Opening Sequence. Photo by Brittany Dilberto. 

Rooms. Photo by Brittany Dilberto. 

Rooms. Photo by Brittany Dilberto. 

Joe and Gabrielle (older). Photo by Brittany Dilberto.

Joe and Gabrielle (older). Photo by Brittany Dilberto.

Things take a dark turn in the barber's shop in Mike O'Halloran's "A Queen's Speech".

Henry IV, i & ii

In November 2015 I  created music and sound designs for Brave Spirits' regendered production of Shakespeare's Henry IV, parts i and ii. The productions were directed by Kevin Finkelstein. 

Photo by Claire Kimball

Photo by Claire Kimball

This production featured a great deal of music, each play had several popular songs incorporated into the performance. The music I created was intended to tap into themes of monarchy and power, conflict, and grief. To create a sense of unity between the two plays much of the music I composed was based on three themes, the Queen's melody, Princess Hallie's melody, and Hotspur's melody. Each of these could be used alone, but they were also stackable for moments when we wished to reference all three characters. In addition to composing music for underscoring I also created textures, and sound effects (I've included some of these below). 

"Queen Theme" Queen Hal's theme evoking the dignity and power she embodies early in part i.
"There's Hope for Hallie" - Theme evoking the possibility of Hallie's redemption.

"Hotspur, War is Inevitable" This theme is related to the character Hotspur and the war that is brewing in the early part of part i.

"Hotspur Dies" A texture depicting the intensity and sadness of Hotspur's Death.

"Falstaff Exaggerates" A sound design which underscores Falstaff's imaginative account of the buckram men she bravely found in the forrest.

"Kate's Hotspur Elegy" Evokes Kate's grief and bitterness after Hotspur's death.

This sound design was created for the play "September '82". It's a creative take on the radio commentary for the 1982 All Ireland Football Final when Seamus Darby's lucky goal cost Kerry their fifth championship victory in a row. 

"O Iascaire" was created to dramatize the internal monologue of a magical sea creature who falls in love with a fisherman for my piece "Ciúnas agus Dúil". 

Sea Cave Song - this piece of music/sound design was dramatizes the song that a magical sea creature used to echolocate through underwater caves. I used constantly changing delays and reverbs to create the effect.  Sea Cave Song was created for my piece "Ciúnas agus Dúil".