Sound Designer Ross Flight talks about Multimedia Show Project Perfect Stranger taking place via WhatsApp and Zoom

With online platforms providing a means of communication and connection with the wider world during a time of isolation, a year on post the pandemic, we’ve witnessed a significant cultural shift towards utilising technology to work and interact. Drawing on this shift, ZU-UK present Project Perfect Stranger – a WhatsApp experience encouraging participants to work together to complete various tasks and  The PlagueRound Game Show, a Game Show – taking place after Perfect Project Stranger – played out via Zoom whereby participants reveal who they are to eachother and viewers for the first time. Ahead of the experience, sound designer Ross Flight tells us more about working on the project’s sound elements.

Hi Ross, ZU-UK’s Project Perfect Stranger will play from Wednesday 10th to Sunday 14th February via WhatsApp before the PlagueRound Game Show finale on Saturday 20th February via Zoom and YouTube. How are you feeling ahead of the experience?

I’m excited to see how the relationships have developed between the Project Perfect Stranger pairs and how this will contribute to the dynamics of the games and activities in PlagueRound.   It’s always a joy to hear stories of the exchanges of messages and if and how connections were made.

The PlagueRound Game Show is the culmination of Project Perfect Stranger –  the five day experience on WhatsApp as contestants take part in a Gameshow via Zoom, and broadcast on YouTube. This’ll be the first time contestants reveal their indentities. How have you approached creating this part of the experience’s sound element?

We’re looking to create a fun, vibrant, open atmosphere in PlagueRound, encouraging people to move their bodies at times, encouraging people to loosen and open up.  We use sounds inspired from game show formats which adds a sense of lightheartedness and fun; we can then contrast with sounds of anticipation and celebration to help support the structure of the show.

Have there been any challenging aspects of creating the experience’s sound design?

Keeping sound effects and layers of sound tight to a script, has sometimes been tricky over Zoom.   When working in the same room as your collaborators and performers, it’s often easier to feel, and have a close back and forth between myself (‘the DJ’) and the host (Jadé).  This can be a little harder to feel when working remotely and requires much more attention regarding tight cueing of sound effects alongside the script.

How have you found creating sound for our digital age of theatre?

In general, I’ve found there’s been a huge opportunity for sound design and sound designers when looking at digital theatre and the impact Covid has had moving performances to online platforms. I’ve been working on various binaural projects, recreating and reworking projects into online audio experiences.  I’m noticing quite a crossover with theatre makers looking into podcast-like formats as a new way to tell stories, often heavily supported with strong sound design to create a sense of space without being able to put performers on a stage.

What can participants and viewers expect from the experience? 

A lot of fun! PlagueRound creates a really great mix of a high energy, joyful, party-type atmosphere, contrasted with moments of connection, investigation and self-reflection.

What would you like for participants and viewers to take away from the experience?

The idea that connections made remotely can be just as meaningful as those made face to face ‘in the real world’.

Questions by Lucy Basaba.

Project Perfect Stranger will take place from Wednesday 10th until Sunday 14th February 2021 and The PlagueRound Game Show on Saturday 20th February 2021. To find out more about both experiences, visit here…


Written by Theatrefullstop