Listed in order, just scroll down to find them – Not Talking / Farragut North
This is the party scene from ‘Not Talking’, the February production at NVT. The young recruits at an army training base get very drunk, and Amanda gets raped – which is a central theme of the play. I used a pair of manually controlled lamps fading up and down to provide the effect, along with a small disco flashing unit.
There’s an older couple too – James and Lucy. Many years before, they had lost their baby when Lucy miscarried. The play’s staging was quite minimal, all black, and I was able to isolate the grieving couple in a pool of light.
Back in the present, the brutality of military training requires that Amanda not talk about her experience, so she remains silent while Mark tries to comfort her. A later scene finds her in court, finally testifying about the assault.
Some scenes took place in a domestic setting, while many were located in the barracks. I set up two lighting states – a cold and a warmer – to suggest the changing locations.
A parallel theme is that James, a Christian, had been a Conscientious Objector during WW2, which greatly offends young soldier Mark – who is actually James’s great grandson …
… because James had had an affair, which resulted in a child, and several generations on, that liaison has produced Mark. ‘Not Talking’ is a play about family, and principles, and the consequences of not talking openly.
Amanda deals with her situation by not talking – she plays piano instead. The set included a window behind the instrument, to illuminate the pianist, and also to provide a floor shadow during the blackouts between scenes.
The action jumps back and forth, both in location and in time. It was an interesting challenge – using light to keep the various events distinct. At the play’s close, there are night scenes, where Amanda is on patrol outside, on the perimeter of the base.
This is the opening scene of ‘Farragut North’, the January production at New Venture Theatre. A huddle of politicians and a journalist in the bar of an Ohio hotel, during a primary election to select the party’s Presidential candidate.
Interesting to light – I was able to illuminate the actors’ faces from a central lamp hanging over the booth table. The Press Secretary soon fell for the charms of the office Intern, Molly.
As you can see … But he’s targeted by a ‘fixer’ working for a rival politician. They meet at a Mexican restaurant, which I managed to evoke with a simple colour wash.
Michael Folkard’s set design featured pale cream walls, capable of taking on a colour change, which enabled me to alter the atmosphere in each scene, as required. I was able to produce a chilly early morning light for the airport, where campaign manager and press secretary meet …
… and warmer illumination for a convention, and for a variety of office locations.
The script called for a selection of hotel bedrooms. We changed the furniture arrangement slightly for each, and I altered the intensity and direction of light as needed.
At the close, the press secretary is fired, and his replacement gives a podium speech in front of a battery of journalists and photographers. We used short bursts of strobe light to simulate the camera flashes.
Hopefully the lighting in these photos looks natural – here’s a glimpse of the amount of lanterns it took to make that happen …