10/09/2019 - What am I doing?
So I decided to start this blog. Well, it's not really going to be a blog, more just a series of paragraphs recording what sort of stuff I'm doing lighting wise at the minute. I thought this might be a wise idea for a few reasons. Primarily, because it's time for me to start putting together some kind of "portfolio" of my work. Everyone keeps talking about how they're interested in my "method of working", and to be honest I'm not even sure what my method really is, so I thought I'd figure that out by writing it down. Plus, my three biggest design projects ever - a season of student shows at the Oxford Playhouse - is now on the horizon, and I thought that might make for interesting reading, both by my future self and anyone who stumbles across this webpage. And, when I inevitably come to turn those three Oxford shows into a portfolio, it'll help to have this as a record going along.
So what am I doing? Well, literally, right now I'm in the midst of updating my website, CV, ALD homepage, and LinkedIn (in that order). After a very busy August of Fringe shows, freelance technician work and a National Youth Theatre course, all of them have fallen relatively out of date and I have a few shows to add to it all. I'm also going to have to have a rethink about how I structure them all - I'm starting to do more and more professional stuff which I want to jump out, but it's still overshadowed by the small student stuff - but that's a worry for another time. The main thing I've been spurred to do, after a conversation with a technician-turned-producer friend of mine and after reading an article by Lucy Carter in the ALD's magazine Focus on the importance of it, is to go through all my shows and make sure every creative is properly credited. At the minute hardly anyone is, which is very poor show, and so I'm on a mission to rectify this as quick as possible. I'm also hoping to add a little paragraph describing my design and the parts that the pictures can't show for each production. Oh, and also starting this blog.
But far more interestingly, I have three major productions in the pipeline - a season of student shows at the Oxford Playhouse. Two are musicals - Spring Awakening and Merrily We Roll Along - whilst one - This House - is a straight play. The latter two are very much at the back of my mind for the time being as they're not until early 2020, but Spring Awakening is about 2 months away, so production is in full swing. I have a massive LX team (as is possible when you're not paying anyone) of 2 associates, 2 programmers, and 3 assistants, and so over the last couple of days I set them all a few menial tasks such as making sure they're free for the get in (let's see in November whether this happens or not ...) and asked them all, but the associates in particular, to start thinking about preliminary design. We wont start writing cues until rehearsals begin (in a couple of weeks time) but we're starting to think about what locations would look like. My focus at the minute is to put together a sort of mood board of images to use as a visual reference point - a "visual lexicon", as Paule Constable once described it to me. I was in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich last week and came home armed with photographs and postcards of art works that said something interesting to me about lighting - they had a very decent Rembrandt collection, so this was somewhat inevitable - but more on this soon; I think my next blog entry will probably focus on Spring Awakening, my mood board, and where I'm up to with the design at the minute. As a spoiler, it features a full size Gothic window as a practical, so look back in a few days to hear about that.
What I'm actually doing today is working on a dance show called Anjali Dance at The Old Fire Station in Oxford. The show is touring the UK starting in September, and I've been asked to relight their Salisbury shows, as the relighter for the rest of the tour is unavailable for those dates. I only lately found out that the Salisbury performance was the very first of the tour, which adds a little pressure, but overall it's more exciting than anything. They're rehearsing with tech this week in Oxford, and so I've come along for today and tomorrow to learn the show. Apart from the fact that the mids on the booms are focused somewhat weirdly - "try to make teeth of light" - and there are three snap cues at an incredibly specific point of the music, it's all been very manageable and the whole company have been incredibly welcoming and friendly. I'm really excited to work with them on the show proper in a weeks time.