Graduate Student Colin Minigan Collaborates on Shakespearean Comedy
Colin Minigan, a graduate student in music composition, was invited by Professor Margaret Laurena Kemp, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, to set music to the Bard’s words and write underscoring for William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. The production is a contemporary staging of the classic comedy and is directed by alum Josy Miller (Ph.D., performance studies, ‘15), and with Minigan’s added music it has a “folksy indie pop” feel to it.
“Shakespeare’s text is already very musical, so when setting it to music it’s easy to make the text clear without sacrificing anything musically,” said Minigan. “In terms of composition and arranging, I tried to match the energy of the subject matter in the text and the scene, while staying within the folksy indie pop sort of sound that we wanted for the show.”
Minigan noted he faced some challenges when working on his original score: “Usually when I write music for other people to perform, it’s within the context of classical concert music and that has a certain rehearsal and learning process that’s very different than what happens in the theatre world and is [also] quite different from songwriting.”
“When writing the songs, I had to think about what would be able to be put together quickly with singers and actors who may not all read music. I also had to consider what would translate well from my voice to another person’s voice—or if it didn’t, could be adjusted easily. Luckily the actors and band have all been fantastic and they’ve been excellent collaborators on these songs.”
Minigan’s participation in “As You Like It” marks the fourth collaboration Kemp has arranged with Department of Music faculty, students, and alumni.
“Colin Minigan’s work on ‘As You Like It’ continues a great collaboration between the Departments of Music and Theatre and Dance,” said Kemp. “I myself have collaborated with Professor Kurt Rohde and alum Richard Chowenhill (B.A., music, ’10) on projects on and off campus.”
As You Like It runs Nov. 16, 17, 18 and 30 and Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. in the Main Theatre, Wright Hall. For tickets and more information about the production, visit the Department of Theatre and Dance website.
The Departments of Music and Theatre and Dance are part of the College of Letter and Science at UC Davis.