Dusty Horne's Sound and Fury

Do you know what a foley artist does? No? Well here’s your chance to find out from Hollywood’s unsung hero, Dusty Horne. It’s 1963 and in this interactive performance lecture, Dusty explains that foley is the art of reproducing and enhancing sound effects for film and TV (often via some unconventional and unbelievable methods) and, as she is the person behind the movie business’s sound effects, and we’re invited to learn some of the tricks of the trade.

It’s very interesting to learn about foley and there’s a childlike glee in not believing your ears

As Dusty says, the art of foley is something that can’t be fully explained on an intellectual level; it needs to be experienced to be understood or even believed. Armed with a set of keys and walking sticks she manages to evoke the enormous Roman army from Spartacus. A celery stick stands in for a broken neck, and for the grand finale we have the chance to join in the magic, which I’m not going to spoil. It’s very interesting to learn about foley and there’s a childlike glee in not believing your ears but the downside is that the foley proves to be much more captivating than the story that runs parallel to the lecture.

To explain, Dusty and her assistant Nicholas recount their Hollywood experiences and behind-the-scenes gossip that informs some of the clips that pepper the performance. Gradually the strains in Dusty and Nicholas’ relationship become clearer and we learn of Dusty’s anger towards the studio executives and unreliable directors who hung her out to dry. While this is a good foil for a foley class and adds extra layers to the show the somewhat melodramatic narrative and performing style, whilst amusing, turns out to be a slight distraction.

Ultimately it’s very technically impressive and a highly enjoyable, eye-opening (or rather ear-opening) show. However it cannot be denied that the foley is most definitely the star of the show and one is left wishing for slightly more sound and a bit less fury.

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The Blurb

It’s 1963. The pioneer of cinematic sound, Jack Foley, has inspired a generation of great ‘foley artists’. Dusty Horne is not one of them. Nevertheless, Dusty will attempt to join the pantheon of celluloid greatness by revealing the secrets of her craft, before a live audience. Witness the hidden magic of foley. Marvel at the madcap mayhem behind famous (and infamous) films. From Hollywood classics to B-movie clangers, you’ll hear thunderclaps, gunshots, broken glass and breaking hearts, as Dusty’s spectacular live sound effects put the emotion into motion pictures. Cinema will never sound the same.

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