Listed in order; just scroll down to find them – Jumpy / 1984 / Bad Jews / Our Lady of Sligo / True West
Where better to begin with ‘Jumpy’ than Frances’ burlesque dance? NVT’s June production is about sex (appropriate and inappropriate), and the trials of parenting, and about the different perspectives of being fifty and fifteen.
A challenging piece to stage, as the action moves between multiple locations, including a house, a flat, a country cottage and a visit to the beach. No pressure there, then …
My lighting design had to focus attention on different areas in turn, keeping the remainder of the stage as unobtrusive as possible. I had to make the illumination harsher or softer, too, as the setting required.
There’s even a bedroom scene All the scene changes were carried out by stage crew in almost total darkness, swinging the sofa round to become an integral part of each location. Director Diane Robinson got some great performances from a very talented cast.
The ‘Two Minute Hate’ from 1984. Genuinely frightening to watch the wave of emotion as the workers at the Ministry of Truth vent their rage at Emmanuel Goldstein – his image is on the video screen, and presumably behind the audience too. I designed the lighting on New Venture’s May production, our offering as part of Brighton Fringe.
For the set, director Nick Richards and designer Simon Glazier produced a very flexible construction of large panels which could be pivoted into different arrangements, allowing cast members themselves to move the action smoothly from location to location.
We used the NVT Upstairs Theatre for the first half of this production, then after the interval the audience was led into the downstairs Studio, a brightly lit space which was the interrogation cell in the Ministry of Love. Lighting two locations for a single show took almost all of our lighting stock – luckily we’ve recently increased the number of lamps we possess.
A really powerful production, very enthusiastically received by sell-out Fringe audiences.
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.