Show Business: Static over Theater Sound

Intimacy is fading, but shows are hooked on mikes and speakers

"Speak the speech, I pray you, trippingly from the tongue," Hamlet advised actors. But that was in the days before body mikes, when a performer would be hooted off the stage if the groundlings could not hear what he was saying. Now, thanks to what is euphemistically known as "sound reinforcement," a whisper can carry as far as a shout, and a clear, powerful voice, once mandatory equipment for a stage actor, is almost superfluous. Sound technicians receive prominent billing in Broadway shows, right next to set and costume designers,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!