Cultural resonation of Sound Effect


I hope to analyze the effect of sounds to the performance: Who Shot La Miguelito. More specifically, how the sounds effects in the show could have a resonation to the audience's heart, make the audience have a sense of empathy and connection to the structural society/culture. The sounds in the show include simulated sounds such as the gunshot sound, sound of the rain and thunder, and the voice of characters. However, there are more sounds than these and more meanings hidden behind the sounds. When I was watching the show, I have a feeling of resonation, resonating with the culture reaction of the sound. For example, when the actors take turns demonstrate themselves in the shadow to real human beings, I could sense the pity and horror. The pity for the culture of injustice and horror for the result of the injustice. I would like to do more research on the function of the sounds and how they are related to people from different backgrounds, resonating with different sympathy and empathy.

The sound effects I would like to address include the nature sound used such as thunder, calm music played when the sunlight appears, and intensive sound in the darkness. Other sounds would be the music played when the characters getting deeper into thoughts, tension, and concerns of past/future. How these sound effects resonate with the audience to create sympathy and empathy.

"Who shot La Miguelito" tells a story about the murder of a young street artist, la Miguelito, in the Mission District — "a story that parallels the death of immigrant, working-class neighborhoods." There are a lot of plays about immigration such as "Angels in America" from the class. However, the most impressive techniques and specialty for "Who shot La Miguelito" is how the writer and director Sean San Jose uses sound effects to depict characters, depict the scene and push the story forward. I'm a big fan of plays, but this show is the only one whose sound effects including natural sound, background music, and players' voice shock me the entire play. It starts with a calm sound "eye closed" but suddenly followed by a mess of shout from the people who already died. Players interact with the audience using their strong voice and intense passion. It directly creates an atmosphere of tense, and for me, I already feel nervous on the seat and start to be sensitive to every sound around me. To dive deeper into the sound effects of the whole play, I would like to analyze the sounds effects in these three categories: natural and background sound, players' voice, and the resonation of sounds in the audience's heart.

gun Shot

"Boom Boom Boom" these three sounds of gunshots were so sudden that they shock everyone even though we know La Miguelito would be shot beforehand. These three gunshots were also really loud, following by the sound of screaming, and people fleeing. Suddenly, it reminds me of a lot of the news, issues, and accidents I know before, bringing me to the resonation with the social concern of guns and injustice brought by guns. As an immigrant, I also gain a feeling of horror. The accident appeared to be nonsense, but just because it's nonsense, it sounds more horrible.


When all the dead are accusing, pointing out the reality of the unjust world, the lightning background music is so real and resonates a lot with my heart. Each accusation was followed by one thunder, making the accuse strong and clear.


The background music for mourning and players' dim but strong voice hit my heart. As dead they are morning for themselves. But are these sounds just mourning for themselves? No. There's much more than that. They are mourning for the age, for the unjustice of the whole society. If their sacrafice could alert the society then it's worth it. It's worth it! Since the sound their making, the music they are playing, and the theme they are demonstrating is resonating with my heart, with each audience's heart.

Check Check:

My name: Check, My family : Check, My history: Check Check. It's not the sound of checking or the english meaning of the word "Check". It is checking in each audience's heart. Could we feel their history, can we check their culture. And most importantly, how can we check our own culture.

Sun Light

Sun light

That's why we have the warm sun light. The sun is showing up, with warm music, relieving the tension. It's hope, and it's the wish of all the immigrants.


Through all these scenerios, we've covered all parts of the basic function of sound effects to the performance: establishing the Time, Location, and Cultural Context, Setting the Mood and Atmosphere, Serving as Exposition, and Design the Perfect Stage with the Help of SSRC. But obviously, what the audience have gained is much more than these and what the director is expecting is much more than these. The unjustice to the immigrants is a historical and long-term issue. It never lacks the attention in the society. People are all aware of that. But what is lacking in the society is the fact that people don't have sympathy and empathy to the issue. Knowing is different from feeling!

Thanks to the sound effect of this show, it actually creates a resonation in people's mind to spark the sympathy and empathy from the audience. And only after people have the related feeling with the characters, they would seriously think about this issue and how are they going to place themselves into this situation. They might be the victum. They may also be the shooter. After all, "Who shot La Miguelito?" It's the indifference of the society. It's the lacking of empathy. These sounds are questioning audience, are you the one who shot La Miguelito? If yes, how are you going to prevent this from happening again. If you are the victim, are you going to accept it or stand up and take your defence. As a conclusion, the sound guides the story, it also guides the audience to a deeper thoughts.