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About The Production

“In Schiller’s 18th century German classic The Robbers, one brother double-crosses another to gain their father’s fortune. Thus begins an epic tale of revenge and madness; a single broken heart creates a national emergency.” 
-Becca Wolff
The Robbers was director Becca Wolff’s thesis production at the Yale School of Drama. Some of the guiding themes that Becca wished to explore through this production were mellow drama and how gender is performed. This idea lead to the development of a musical vocabulary for the two conflicting worlds of the brothers, Franz and Karl, that would emphasize their strange brand of sibling rivalry. In addition, the brothers were also depicted as having two  different male gender identities that were performed by one woman, Erica Sullivan. This double casting created an opportunity for music and sound to play a role in support and definition for each. 

To begin, design meetings involved separate discussions for each the two worlds of the brothers. Franz was conceptualized as conniving, manipulative, ultra-conservative, and heartless in his quest for power and control over his father’s fortune. Thus the mellow dramatic musical world of Franz needed to be expressive and gestural to convey his eerie, disturbing, cruel and evil nature. Next, the world of Karl was conceived of as extreme radical rebellion fueled by Karl’s deep hurt for being seemingly disowned by his father. Therefore, the music of Karl’s world needed to be explosive and driven by angst.  

From these discussions, the development of musical sketches for each world commenced. Electric guitar was first choice as the main instrument  in hopes of maintaining some cohesion between the worlds in a similar manner to which Erica would be playing both brothers. For Franz, the music explored expressive slow tempo pieces that were comprised of off kilter rhythms and chords made up of  intervals that support tension and eeriness. For Karl,  instrumental musical pieces were developed that were inspired by noise and hardcore punk rock groups and other such explosive bands such as, Black Flag, Drive Like Jehu, Rudimentary Peni, Rapeman, and others. 

Please take a look at the video examples on this page for more insight into the production and to get an idea of the role music and sound played in The Robbers. 


                          YSD Onstage

                   BECCA WOLFF


Artistic Staff:

Directed by Becca Wolff

Adapted by Becca Wolff and Jacob Gallagher-Ross

Scenic Design by Katherine Akiko Day

Costume Design by Valérie T. Bart

Lighting Design by Chuan Chi Chan

Sound Design and Composition by Scott Leigh Nielsen

Production Sound Engineering by Chad Raines

"This season's...most compelling and relevant rediscovery."

The New Haven Advocate

Music Recording Staff:

Karl Music Engineered by Chad Raines

Guitar and Waterphone by Scott Leigh Nielsen

Electric Bass by Will Ianuzzi

Drums and Percussionon by Dave Parmelee

Franz Music Engineered by Scott Leigh Nielsen

Guitar, Electric Bass, Waterphone, Piano and Midi String Arrangements by Scott Leigh Nielsen

All Music Produced and Mixed by Scott Leigh Nielsen

Yale School of Drama 2008

The Robbers by Friedrich Schiller