By: Ellie Parker | Opinions  | 

Collaborative or Collateral? A Review of Original Sound

In an effort to enhance my New York City experience as much as possible, I am always on the lookout for new and exciting plays. For this reason, “Original Sound,” playing at the Cherry Lane Theater through June 8, served as the perfect night out for my friend and me.

“Original Sound” centers around Danny, an aspiring musician, who recently discovered that mega pop-star Ryan Reed stole one of his songs. Danny is initially elated — he believes that this act of fraud could lead to his big break. Along with his best friend and groupie, Kari, Danny attempts to make a name for himself through Reed’s dishonesty.

Following a meeting with Reed’s manager, things start looking up for Danny. He is promised four collaborative sessions with Reed along with royalties from the co-written hit “Stay,” appearing on Reed’s upcoming album. While Danny leaps at the opportunity to learn from Reed, she is less than enthusiastic. Once a blunt and unapologetic rock musician, making it in the music industry has stripped Reed of what once made her different. Her hesitation to work with Danny can be interpreted as Reed’s recognition and jealousy of Danny’s passion — a passion she once shared. But as the two work together, Danny’s love for his work begins to rub off on Reed, who starts to once again take pride in her work.

Walking into the Cherry Lane Theater adds another dimension to the performance. Set in a room with no more than 50 seats, the stage is encircled by the audience. The intimate feeling of being steps away from the action enhances the collaborative nature of the story and enables the crowd to take part in the give-and-take of the plot.

The crux of the story boils down to a line shared between Reed and Danny. Upon confronting her about her deceit, Reed responds: “What does being original even mean?” In an industry like theirs, the answer is “not much.” But the lessons learned blur the lines between black and white. Though the observer initially views Danny as right and Reed as wrong, one quickly comes to realize that things are not so clear cut. “‘Original Sound’ is a real and inspiring portrayal of what it means to follow your dream and pursue your passions,” as summarized by my friend and fellow play enthusiast. The play attempts to analyze the difference between real and fake and, in doing so, shows that both are inherently complex. “Original Sound” is a take on what it means to “make it” and the moral constraints that accompany a rise to the top.

Photo Caption: “Original Sound” plays at the Cherry Lane Theater through June 8th.

Photo Credit: Ellie Parker