The Foley World of Yellow Fever—An Interview with Evan Rein

We caught up with Evan Rein, who is an actor, sound designer, and foley artist in our upcoming production of Yellow Fever by R.A. Shiomi.

In this production of Yellow Fever you are wearing multiple hats, as you’ll be acting as well as doing live foley/sound design. You have plenty of experience in both areas, so the first question is twofold: which came first for you, and how does your work in sound design influence your acting (or vice versa)?

Acting came first. In the world of foley, being an actor lends itself nicely to this style of sound design. As a live foley artist, you have to be in relationship with the other actors onstage just like you would if you were in the scene acting with them. It’s a fun challenge to inhabit each character’s psyche and support their life through sound.

The Firehall is staging Yellow Fever as a radio play, with audiences essentially seeing the production and recording process unfold onstage. Without physical action during scenes of conflict, is there added pressure to really bring the drama to the sound design? How does designing sound for a show like this differ from some of your other sound design projects?

Ideally each sound has a specific purpose that helps tell the story. But sometimes silence is part of the design and can be used to highlight important moments in the text.

This sound design is different because I’m not the sole foley artist. Raugi and other members of the company are jumping in lending their foley skills. All hands on deck!

Part of the foley setup for Yellow Fever

Do you have a favourite sound/instrument in this show?

We’ve added a drum kit and I’m having a lot of fun with that. I really enjoy the percussive underscoring I get to do through Act 2!

A lot of us are pretty over talking about it, but it has also been a huge part of the last few years, so—post-pandemic, how are you feeling about the return to live performances? Do you have any thoughts on the landscape of live theatre moving forward?

This is the third covid show I’ve done and I’m stoked to be in front of live audiences again. In the post covid theatre world I’m grateful to see a change in the theatre workplace—more sustainable working hours and a higher priority placed on mental wellbeing. I’m hoping this is a trend that will stick around.

Pictured: Objects used for café sounds, office sounds, fight scenes, and more!

Do you have any advice for someone just starting out in sound design, or someone looking to get experience in the field? Is there anything you would tell your younger self if you could travel back in time?

Just do it. Just say you’re a designer and start putting yourself out there. Learn by doing. Make mistakes. Sound design for your friends and for fun. Think of your first designs as a self-guided class. YouTube the stuff you don’t know.

What’s next for you?

A sound design for the first show of Studio 58’s 2022/2023 season!

Yellow Fever runs from May 28-June 12. Buy tickets here!

Evan is excited to be doing live foley and playing the role of Goldberg in Yellow Fever. Previous sound designs: Spinning You Home (Spinner’s Collective), Focus (happy/accidents), Anon(ymous) (Studio 58), Centurions (Evergreen Cultural Centre), and The Skin of Our Teeth (Studio 58). Theatre acting: How the World Began (Pacific Theatre), Peter Pan (Carousel Theatre), The Hobbit (Globe Theatre), East Van Panto: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (Theatre Replacement). Film/TV: Upload (Amazon), Valley of the Boom (National Geographic), Nancy Drew (CW), Debris (NBC), Heartland (CBC), Sacred Lies (Facebook), Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC), and Blue Hour (Muskrat Pass Productions) for which he received a Leo Award nomination and a UBCP/ACTRA Award nomination for Best Lead Performance Male in a Motion Picture. Evan is a graduate of Studio 58.

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