Listed in order; just scroll down to find them – Bad Jews / Our Lady of Sligo / True West
Jesus! – if that’s appropriate as she’s Jewish – DON’T MESS WITH DAPHNA !! New Venture’s March production is Joshua Harmon’s dark comedy ‘Bad Jews’. The central character is Daphna, and she makes Lady Macbeth look like your favourite childminder .. .
The action takes place in a New York apartment – “You can see the Hudson from the bathroom!” – after the funeral of a Jewish patriarch. As in so many families, there’s a fight over who will inherit an important family heirloom. And Daphna’s nothing if not a fighter …
The Upstairs theatre at NVT is a very wide space, and it needed a lot of lanterns to create an even illumination. Worth it, though – to light great performances from director Bob Ryder’s hugely talented cast.
February. In Sebastian Barry’s play ‘Our Lady of Sligo’, Mai O’Hara lies dying of liver cancer in a Dublin hospital, but in her mind she ranges back over her life – the tribulations of being an alcoholic married to Jack and the idealised memories of her beloved Dada.
Like in ‘Iron’, which you can see on the Set Design page, the set for this production was achieved almost entirely with lighting. Just Mai’s bed – a chair draped in sheets – and a couple of extra seats (one for the nursing Sister)) were all the cues the audience was given.
I designed the lighting so that the action could switch between the cold light of the hospital reality, where Mai’s husband and daughter are visiting, and the warm tones of Mai’s interior memories, where she interacts with people from her past.
Director Mark Wilson wanted to do this production in the round, with audience on all four sides of New Venture’s Studio space. Hard for the actors, who need to keep changing their direction – and for me, as I had to light them while avoiding dazzling the audience.
How does this – get to this? . . .
NVT’s January production was ‘True West’, by Sam Shepard. Sibling rivalry, Hollywood ethics, the myth of the Old West – and a LOT of booze. Austin and Lee end up trashing their mother’s house over a couple of days.
The action takes place at night, as well as in the early morning and the late afternoon, so I had to produce three separate lighting states. I’ve never had to rig so many lights behind the set before!
Great performances from Steven O’Shea’s cast. Manic action in the second half, made very believable by Simon Glazier’s highly realistic set. You can see more of his work (and mine too, of course) in ‘The Homecoming’ back on the 2017 projects page. I also did the poster for the production, you can see that on the ‘Theatre Posters’ page.