Lovers and Liars : A David Garrick Double Bill
Throughout my time in York I have been looking forward to lighting a show in the Scenic Stage Theatre. Now that we have been granted this opportunity, I want to make the best use of the space in our final practical project in our University careers. One of the main reasons that I chose to study here was to challenge myself in a brand new, complex and advanced theatre – and it is certainly living up to this challenging nature. A Thrust Stage throws up a more complicated situation for a lighting designer than, for example, lighting a Proscenium Arch Stage where the audience are only on one side. In my research I have been heavily influenced by designers such as Richard Pilbrow and Paule Constable in how to light a Thrust Stage effectively, coupled with research into lighting techniques at the time when Garrick wrote the play. In those early performances, lighting as we know today didn’t exist. The invention of oil lanterns in English theatre came in after Garrick had been travelling in France, where he was heavily influenced by his French contemporaries. However, as the play was put on before that time, I wanted to try to keep an element of the original techniques in my lighting design. At the time the main source of light on stage was rows of candles at the front of the stage up-lighting the actors, so the audience could clearly see them. Instead of having candles downstage, as we are having a raised stage, I wanted to play with the idea of using L.E.Ds (Light Emitting Diodes) mounted on the front of the stage to light the actors from below to create a similar effect to the candles. I have been working closely with Ronan Noble, our Set Designer, throughout the process to make sure that my ideas are in keeping with his design.
Within the play there are a number of themes that present themselves with the opportunity for a lighting designer to explore and bring out to an audience, for example, the concept of time passing. The play takes place within 24 hours, so therefore there needs to be a shift from bright daylight to a more intimate and warm evening state. This can be done through colour change but also another idea I developed, was that I could pick out different parts of the set from different angles as the play progresses. For example the use of a light fitted with a window gobo, (effectively a stencil that can be placed in a light), that can be shone from one side of the stage and as the play progresses, it can move to the other side of the stage as the sun moves in the sky throughout the day.