IBSEN'S "GHOSTS" at WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL

Earlier this year I was asked by my friend and collaborator, Carey Perloff, invited me to compose a new score for Paul Walsh’s new translation of Ibsen’s “GHOSTS”. What a wonderful way to spend the Summer!

Uma and David Photo Bernard White

Uma and David Photo Bernard White

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With Catherine Combs, David Coulter, Tom Pecinka, Thom Sesma, Uma Thurman, Bernard White

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“In this always compelling production, director Carey Perloff decides to bring the uncanny on stage, almost as a sixth character, in the figure of composer/musician David Coulter, who contributes a series of atonal and/or lyrical sounds, by way of water glasses, string instruments, percussion, and electronics. The self-consciousness of Perloff’s move would not have fazed a dramatist who brought in the voice of God (or is that an Angel?) at the end of Brand. Coulter stands behind a clear screen — he’s sometimes visible, sometimes not. He takes on a spectral visual resonance. Is he the ghost of avant-garde future?” http://theartsfuse.org/187234/theater-review-ghosts-specters-on-the-march/

“Yet things keep getting lifted up by Perloff’s most audacious choice, having composer/musician David Coulter mysteriously lit by James F. Ingalls behind Dane Laffrey’s massive glass wall, where he accompanies fraught moments with plangent notes performed on the likes of saws and wine glasses. As it happens, Jack Nitzsche employed the same unconventional instrumentation in his unforgettable score for the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Coulter achieves the same weirdly distancing, yet enveloping effect.” http://nystagereview.com/2019/08/12/from-williamstown-ghosts-and-before-the-meeting/

“David Coulter (Composer/Musician) whose use of unconventional materials and instruments during the performance provides an additional element that is complementary, enjoyable, and helps to keep the audience engaged.” https://www.broadwayworld.com/boston/article/BWW-Review-GHOSTS-at-Williamstown-Theatre-Festival-Proves-to-be-Fresh-and-Remarkably-Relevant-20190811

“…composer David Coulter to create a percussive soundtrack that underscores nearly every moment of the production’s two hours, suggesting to the audience how it should receive each earth-shattering disclosure. The music—which Coulter performs live, in full view of the actors and spectators—is often arresting, frequently resembling a Bernard Herrmann Hitchcock score, with tense, jittery pitches that refuse to neatly resolve.“ http://exeuntnyc.com/reviews/review-ghosts-williamstown-theatre-festival/

“Composer David Coulter performs his score by playing wine glasses, a saw, a xylophone and timpani.

The abstract, spare score is appropriately dark, brooding and sometimes eerie, often reminiscent of the atonal underscoring favored by Ivo van Hove (like in “The View From the Bridge”) to convey dramatic tension. Ms. Perloff says the score carried “the ghostly sounds of everything—lust, memory, fear, desire.” https://theberkshireedge.com/review-wtfs-disappointing-ghosts-lacks-drama/

“It is the spring and there is rain, or should be. Instead we have electronic music by David Coulter, which is wonderful and moody and filmic in its use and style, replacing the actual sound of nature crippling the lives of human souls in distress.” https://theberkshireedge.com/theatre-review-wtfs-memorable-ghosts-is-realistic-and-contemporary/

“Perloff achieves a heightened state with other elements, notably a live score by David Coulter that enhances the text rather than overwhelms it.” http://pittsfieldgazette.com/antique-ghosts-reveals-modern-truths-p4539-156.htm

Portrait of Uma… Photo: David Coulter

Portrait of Uma… Photo: David Coulter

David CoulterComment