Mark Van Hare



Composer and Sound Designer, Gordy Crashes and Happily After Ever


Vassar College, Music composition and conducting.


What play or type of play would you love to design for?


There are a lot of plays that I love and I think that any good play can be exciting to work on.  I find that it is usually the creative team that makes or breaks a production—working with inventive, kind, collaborative people makes all the difference. 

I will say that I primarily design for new plays and the opportunity to work on a play with the playwright in the room is thrilling. It puts everyone in the production on the same footing in terms of responsibility for communicating the story. 

What's the last show or designer you were inspired by?

A few years ago I saw a show at St. Anne's Warehouse in Brooklyn called Mr. Man. It was a one-man show staged in an ENORMOUS industrial space, but the play felt incredibly full, both spatially and narratively. The main character had a tape recorder at all times and treated it like another person, speaking into it and then responding to the recording of his own voice as if it were someone else. 

In this way, and many, many other ways, sound played a very large part of the storytelling and the results were wonderful.

What is the hardest part of your job?

The hardest part of being a designer is working on enough plays to earn a living but still finding the energy to give each play my best work. I find I need to calibrate my expectations based on the scale of the production and the time constraints.

The challenge is to design with the production's interests in mind while still attempting to create something that is artistically satisfying to me as well.

If you weren't a designer, what can you picture yourself doing instead?

Who knows!  I'll admit that I think about this question ALL the time—I think many designers do.  I like the idea of being creative but in a more traditionally professional sense, like being an architect or working in a large creative company like Pixar. 

But the truth is, if I could do something else I probably would, designing for theater feels more like a compulsion than a job.


Be sure to visit Mark's website to listen to more of his work, and check back for more designer profiles...coming soon!