Now-retired Education Dramaturg Ted Sod spoke with Sound Engineer Jeremy Oleska about his work at Roundabout in late 2019.
TED SOD: Tell us about yourself. Where were you born and educated? How and when did you become responsible for house sound at the American Airlines Theatre℠?
JEREMY OLESKA: I was born in California. Raised in Arizona. Education is High School and experience. I had no formal post-graduate education for theatre. I had an offer for a tour and a college application. I took the tour; “be paid to learn” and all. I became House Sound for American Airlines after a show was canceled at Lincoln Center Theatre. I used to be a Sound Key for a venue there. A friend of mine dropped my name to Production Managers who were looking to fill the position. I interviewed and received a formal offer within days. It really was a typical whirlwind. Shows ending and another gig offering quickly happens a lot. It’s just how the industry goes.
TS: Describe your job at RTC. What are your responsibilities?
JO: My responsibility starts and ends with reporting to my boss, the Head Electrician. I’m responsible for installing, running, managing maintenance of the house sound and rental systems for each show in the American Airlines Theatre and making sure needs are communicated throughout the process. Executing the sound design is amongst all of this. Running the show includes mixing the shows.
TS: What is the best part of your job? What is the hardest part?
JO: Best part for me has always been being a part of something bigger than myself. Knowing people have appreciated the show more because I executed the sound design is a really good feeling. Being amongst the audience and experiencing that is instant gratification a lot of times. Hardest part, tech. The tech process is the part where technicians, designers, and performers are working through the show in the performance space. For me, it involves a lot of work notes, programming, and learning the show. Typically, the hours are 16 hours a day, so cumulative lack of sleep can make the job harder.
TS: Why do you choose to work at Roundabout?
JO: Roundabout provides art. With a consistent gig, it provides a steady paycheck. With the different shows every few months, it has variety as well, so the art won’t get repetitive and monotonous.