The first meeting I had with one of the directors was to initially discuss what she was thinking for her participation to the Riverside Theatre Festival. This meeting lasted approximately 10 minutes. I was given the starting point for what she felt the scenes should be about and discussed the themes so I wouldn’t be in the dark at the first rehearsal I attended. I was given the style of theatre would be absurd, so I went home that night and researched what absurd theatre is, and looked at different videos and articles to find out what police brutality was fully about.. This concluded the meeting.
The second meeting started approximately at the 5th rehearsal. This is because I wanted to give the performers space to create their characters and have a starting point for the production. There were a number of scenes to see, which I managed to get some ideas for from watching the videos. During the rehearsal, it was being mentioned what the director would like from the performance, yet she was giving me room to negotiate and compromise. At the end of rehearsal, we managed to come together and talk about our ideas in full. It was said that the director wasn’t too keen on having any blackouts, as she said she wanted the audience to see everything that was going off on stage. We spoke of the first four scenes. I was aware that nothing was set in stone as this was my first time seeing what she had for me and we had only one discussion before. Scene one was to be a spot on five performers then isolate one performer. The other members of the cast would have created a wall at the back of the stage, then bring up a general coverage of the stage. Scene two was to be a toilet scene which also consisted of general coverage of the stage, then onto scene four straight away, the staging would turn red with leds to resemble an occult. Then for the final scene of the day, there would be a repeat of the first scene.
At the third meeting, a number of the scenes had changed as you can tell from the image of my notebook above. She still wanted the toilet scene but in a different place. Another thing which changed is that the cast had gone from five to three. This was no issue as I was able to talk to my co-lighting designer and came up with a solution. As he was using a number of spots in the same place, I was still able to have five spots. This was just a precaution in case the other members of the cast came back.
Scene one: There would be two performers on the stage playing chess. The idea was to have a centre spot on the them both and the table with the chess board. There was to be a blackout at the end of this scene, as the director thought it would be a good idea in some areas to separate the scenes. I did push for this idea as I thought it would add more suspense as to what was coming next.
Scene two would be a freeze frame, similar to what we discussed in the first meeting. The director wanted a quick snap at the beginning as though it creating a photograph for the audience. Luckily enough, I was sitting in on a first year lighting session the week before, and this was spoken about. The part of the session I am referring to was framing the scene. I mentioned that I could create a silhouette with backlighting, when the three spots would be directly on top of the performers. At first I thought it would work with the fade time being on 0.5 seconds but thought that would be too quick for anything to register with the audience. Instead I thought of two seconds, also for the performers to have time to get into position.
Scene three was to have the toilet scene. I spoke with my co-lighting designer and tutor to find out if there was a gobo which I could use to resemble prison. Luckily there was one in the Mac500 which was already placed in the rig on the lighting plan. I put this forward to the director and she loved it rather than just having general coverage. It was spoken how she wanted to split stage it and put two parts of the scene on different size of the stage. Stage right was to be the prison and stage left to be the toilet. For stage left I said for the prison bars, but for visibility to also have some general coverage. I gave my reasons which were taken into consideration and accepted. For stage right, as it is a sinister moment, we stayed for the red leds. I also explained that the set would have some luminaires in so could always light them up too. She loved this idea as she felt it was more absurd if I could put different colours in each tower.
Scene four was to be a repeat of scene two. This is to be repeated over a few times within different scenes.
Scene five I mentioned having a light blue led on stage left. This scene is about a good police officer saying goodbye to his girlfriend/wife as he is going to work. I also suggested instead of having general coverage to have two follow spots on the performers as I feel a general coverage will lose the effect on the colouring.
Scene six is a riot scene which I thought would be good to have red to represent the chaos. Also to have the two robes which were on the floor to strobe blue for the contrast.