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El Mito or The Myth of My Pain

by Andrew Rincón

2023-2024 Season Purdue Theatre Production
Directed by Rebecca Aparicio and Jessica Harris
Scenic Design by Sydney Hagen
Costume Design by Mae Berg
Lightning Design by Hannah Grace Harper
Sound Design & Composition by Huhao Yang
Technical Director: Ellen McLean
Opening Night: September 22, 2023

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El Mito is queer playwright Andrew Rincón's new play, and premiered on Purdue Theatre's stage in Fall 2023. It combines Colombian culture, Latin myths and magical realism to create a diverse story. The play focus on Michelle, a teenager born in the United States but raised among the family of Colombian immigrants in Miami. Guided by the legendary monster La Patasola, Michelle realizes that other dangerous Colombian monsters evolved from her family's trauma for losing their Abuela Rosmira are coming and trying to hunt the family members. With the help of La Patasola, Michelle gradually found her own strength for using the machete left by her Abuela and travel through different spiritual worlds to save her family and kill all the monsters. In this process, she found the bond between herself and her blood from hometown Colombia, and finally took on the responsibility of protecting her family.

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Sound Design and Composition Conceptual Statement

Huhao Yang

The sound design of El Mito focuses on highlighting the elements of Latin music, creating scores that combines both Colombian traditional instruments’ features and modern pop music characteristics. Beyond this, the sound will also focus on enhancing the surreal scenes through creating various atmospheric music and soundscapes for characters’ spiritual myth worlds, to let the play’s magical realism style to be reflected in the sounds as well.



From an overall perspective, the different styles of the scores in this play will present a process from collision to fusion. The logic of this transformation is based on the theme of the story and the ideas the playwright wants to reflect. As a young immigrant generation deeply influenced by American modern life culture in Miami area, the protagonist Michelle and the teens in her family are exposed to trendy pop music and social medias in their daily lives. When depicting their daily life scenes the pop salsa music with a clear rhythm and beats will become the main part of the scores. And whenever the characters enter their spiritual or surreal worlds and are hunted by the monsters from the folk mythology of their hometown Colombia, the scores changes to a style that is more atmospheric and ambient, and incorporates more Colombian instrumental elements and ritual feelings. Behind this is a metaphor for the bond between young immigrants and their hometown culture. The American pop culture is gradually diluting their traditional Colombian cultural heritage. But the mythical monsters symbolize their respective traumas on the one hand, and also the ties from their hometowns on the other. And these two kinds of music would respectively show their current living status in Miami and the inseparable connection between them and their hometown Colombia that the monsters tried to awaken when they hunted them. And Michelle is trying to find a balance throughout the process, protecting her family from being swallowed up by the trauma from the past, while also understanding the meanings of her hometown and the Colombian culture to her life. And the sound scores will express this concept of living in the present without forgetting one's origin based on such implicit logic.



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In addition, for the creation of various magical and surreal mythical monsters and the presentation of hunting scenes in the play, some unique sound symbols will be used to depict soundscapes and special monster characters. Take La Patasola as an instance, according to the research on the mythology, there are many descriptions of the sounds in her story, like when meeting her in the jungle, people can hear the sound of water drops and rustling leaves. These two sounds can be used as the best sound symbols to portray this character on stage. Every time she appears, she can be accompanied by these two sounds attached to her, reinforcing the audience's memory of her over and over again. Through this kind of auditory memory enhancement, it can not only increase the expressiveness of the monster character, but can also arouse a part of the audiences’ curiosity about these two unique sounds and try to seek for the story of La Patasola after the show. And another example is El Sibon, there is even a clearer sound description in his myth story, that is whenever he comes out to hunt, people can hear a whistle symbolizing death in the wilderness. Designing a strange whistle melody to attach to this character will undoubtedly be very effective in enhancing the character's sense of oppression and appeal. All these sound symbols can add textures for the image of the characters, and bring audience more sense of immersive. 



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EL MITO Sound Pulse and Dynamic Plot by Huhao Yang

Overall, for this magical realism production, the sound can be powerfully expressive. The sound design also aims to showcase the traditional cultural colors of Colombia while showing more diversity, and inspire the audiences mainly from a US university community to understand the various culture meanings and stories behind the play that they may not be familiar with. The sounds will not only enhance the stage presentation of the play on the surface, but also convey the deeper thoughts and meanings contained in this comprehensive play.



Composition & Cue Samples

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Huntingopening scene music
00:00 / 01:06

The opening music, spiritual and hunting feeling, accompanied by the eerie lighting design, heralds the atmosphere of the monster approaching for hunting. It also incorporates percussion commonly used in Latin music, creates a feeling of darkness. With the final phrase at the end, the lights turn on, and the characters appear and lead the audience enter the play world.

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La Patasolafirst appearance of La Patasola
00:00 / 01:30

The first time that the scene is drawn from the realistic set to the surreal. The music and soundscape is for the scene change when La Patasola appeared, included the sound symbols described in the myth stories, like water dripping and leaves rustling that people heard every time when La Patasola appeared

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Dramatic Telenovelafor the scene of shooting telenovela
00:00 / 01:06

A old-fashion and generic Colombian telenovela-style soundtrack, for supporting the scene-within-a-scene inside the play of the family filming their dramatic telenovela. Different switchable loops are set up according to the dynamics in this scene. And the score ends with the sword stabbing the man and spraying out fake blood.

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Chisme Queenfor Chemita's dancing scene
00:00 / 01:49

Latin pop style dance music, matching the scene where Chemita is immersed in her own world, dancing and enjoying the chisme and comments on social media. The score combined with the voice over and sound effects, created a very dramatic moment, please check the video above for the completed cue sequence.

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Death Whistlefor scenes when El Silbón appearsappears
00:00 / 00:41

According to the Colombian myth, El Silbón will blow a death whistle every time he comes out hunting, so this sound is integrated into the scene transitions before each El Silbón appears and the scenes when he leads the monsters to hunt the family.

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Bufeoscene change with dolphin squeaks
00:00 / 00:37
MohanEL Mohan's hunting guitar
00:00 / 01:06
La Bolafire sound for Bola's hunting
00:00 / 00:28

For all other monsters, there will be different textured sounds and scores. Bufeo is the Colombian pink dolphin, so every scene change in which it appears will be accompanied by dolphin squeaks. When Mohan seduced Chemita, he played a psychedelic guitar so that Chemita could no longer hear other sounds. Therefore, this flamenco style guitar music accompanied by special effects processing became the highlight of Mohan's hunting. And As a monster covered in flames, La Bola is accompanied by the sound effect of burning fireballs every time she appears. All the unique designed sound symbols are attached to the monster figures to enhance their features.

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Break Limitsunderscore for Michelle's monologue
00:00 / 01:06

When Michelle found herself in the past memories showed by La Patasola and realized the power she contained, she broke the wall in her heart by wielding the machete and decided to save her family. This underscore piece supports the long monologue in this scene and ends with a glass smashing hit.

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Endingmagic soundscape and ending dance
00:00 / 01:04

Michelle finally eliminated all the monsters and helped her family untie their knots. She waved her hand and showed the pictures of all her experiences. The sound also helped to construct a magical soundscape. After that, a piece of Latin pop-style music sounded, and the family danced with laughter until La Patasola appeared again in the ending.

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Telenovela Scene ChangeLatin pop style music
00:00 / 00:50
Michelle's Visionunderscore when Michelle smiles the danger
00:00 / 01:13
Meditation Voicemeditation voice over with BGM
00:00 / 00:42
Scene Change LoopLatin pop style music
00:00 / 00:14

Some other distinctive scene change music and unique design pieces.

Some other distinctive scene change music and unique design pieces.

El Mito

Sound Cue Sheets

El Mito

Pulse and Dynamic Analysis

El Mito

Zeder & Action Analysis

For viewing more design related materials and document please download the pdf files.

Terminal Project Research for El Mito

As my terminal production for MFA degree at Purdue Theatre, I did a very detailed research and literature survey for this play during the early design stage. This includes analyzing the cultural and social background of the script, the period and regional music style, characteristics of magical realism productions, etc. from various perspectives, as well as using various methods to analyze the form, content and style of the script. I compiled all the materials into a research book, the following is its table of contents, If you are interested in the specific research content, please download the digital pdf file below for viewing:

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El Mito

MFA Terminal Project Research Book

by Huhao Yang

Sound System Design

A total of 34 loudspeakers were used in this show to create the immersive magical realism experience for audience. And all the actors were wearing mics to match the high dynamic score and sound effects, as well as doing special processing for monsters's vocals in this production. According to the number of Amp channels in our theatre and the settings of Dante routing and control network, I designed this system for sound reinforcement, which plays a very good role in the presentation of my sounds. For more detailed documents please download with the buttons below the drawings.

Sound System Design

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 For viewing more specific drawings and documentation please download the pdf files below


Tech Rehearsal
Speaker Load in
FOH Board Operator / Playback
Production Meeting
Crew Watch
El Mito Team
Chemita Dancing Piece
Design Documents
Curtain Speech

Sound Team

Sound Designer & Composer:

Huhao Yang

Assist. Sound Designer:

Yun Joon Choi

Production Sound Engineer:

Victoria Bloom

Assist. Sound Engineer:

Amber Wolf

Sound Board Operator-A1:

Brandt Minnicus

Mic Technician-A2:

Nathaniel Irwin

Playback Operator-A3:

Madeline O'Neill


Fan Zhang

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