Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Deep Love--Lighting Design


Deep Love, by Ryan Hayes and Garrett Sherwood was produced at the Colonial Theatre in Idaho Falls, Idaho in Fall of 2011.

About Deep Love
Deep Love was conceived and written by Ryan Hayes and Garrett Sherwood when both were students at Brigham Young University-Idaho in 2010.  It was produced locally at a few venues including Sammy's and the old LDS Tabernacle and developed an immediate, loyal, local, cult following.  Since that time, it has been produced and toured annually during the fall season.  Each time around, as this project gains more and more audience the production values become more ambitious.  In the 2011 season we added a lighting design.  In 2012 costumes and makeup were upgraded.  In the coming season, 2013 the plan is for a larger tour with a set.  This is a dynamic work and I am thankful to have been a part of it.

Audiences are encouraged to attend dressed in funeral attire.

Set at Old Bones’ grave, Deep Love: A Ghostly Folk Opera begins with a dead husband and his living wife, Constance, pledging their undying love to each other. Though Constance cannot see or feel Old Bones’ presence, her love for him goes beyond the grave.
Still grieving, Constance meets Friedrich and begins to see life as a possibility again. For a moment, they find solace in each other’s love. Even so, Friedrich, tormented by a history with his ex-lover (Florence), and Constance, still haunted by the memory of Old Bones, cannot fully escape their respective pasts. The entanglement of these four characters’ lives allows you to judge if their love is deep.

Tumblr Synopsis

Jon Peter Lewis is the director of the production and also plays Old Bones.  He approached me about a lighting design for the production at the Colonial Theatre in Idaho Falls, Idaho.  We discussed the venue and the capabilities of it.  We also discussed what the stage picture would be.  Essentially, there are the instrumentalists and the vocalists.  The instrumentalists included horns, strings, percussion and a rock band.  The vocalists were to be lit at four mics across the front of the stage.  As we talked, the image I had as a small boy of the orchestra when I first saw the Disney film Fantasia in the Colonial Theatre, ironically, came to mind.  The orchestra was all in silhouette against a lighted cyclorama. 

We did not have a large budget, but we did have access to a few lights and a cyc.  I pitched this idea to Jon and we decided that this was the direction we wanted to go.  I told him we could make a big statement with color splashes across the background and tell the audience how to feel at any given moment in the production.

Jon wanted to be able to isolate each member of the cast in themed lighting at different moments in the show.  Specifically, he wanted the characters who were dead to be lit with an eerie green light.  We decided that light would be the most eerie if we placed it on the ground, pointing up.  I have always liked the quality of footlights.

A limited budget doesn't mean you can't do things, it just means you have to maximize your resources.  We had access to color changing LED cyc fixtures, about two dozen Parnels and about that many Source 4 ellipsoidal spotlights.

We used the LED fixtures to light the cyc and also to be the uplights at all the microphone stands.  This allowed us to change the color on the cyc and also the actor's faces at will and without having to scroll through several other colors to get to the correct color.

The strong cyc light caused the desired effect with the orchestra lit in silhouette.

We used the parnels as downlight from the battens, all gelled with a deep blue color.  This allowed a little skim light, or halo light for the orchestra and the vocalists.

We used the Source 4's were used as strong sidelight, some gelled in deep red and deep blue from both sides of the stage.  We also used the Source 4's as frontlight from the balcony, but not straight on.  We used a warm gel from house left at 3/4's and a cool gel from house right, also at 3/4's.  Finally, we used a Source 4 as a straight downlight on each mic so we could have a defined pool of light at each location.

The strong sidelight allowed for very dramatic lighting during some of the angry music whereas the frontlight gave us a very romantic quality for the ballads.

There were a couple of numbers where a character moved from mic to mic and we used followspots to light them.

Production Shots


Again with the silhouette

More silhouette

Add the downlight

The Fantasia effect, Constance in pool of light, orchestra in silhouette

The sidelight on Frederich

The sidelight on Constance and Old Bones

Romantic frontlight on Constance

Eerie uplight on Old Bones

Eerie uplight against green cyc on Old Bones

Frightening uplight against orange cyc on Florence

Eerie uplight and strong downlight against orange cyc on Constance
It has been a real pleasure to see this work grow and to be a small part of it.  I saw it at the Tabernacle the first year it was produced.  It has grown in scale and maturity over the last several seasons.  I look for this to become a much larger and well known work of art.

If you ever get a chance to see it, do.  Production information can be found here:  (Link)

Production Details
Written by:  Ryan Hayes and Garrett Sherwood
Directed by and Starring Jon Peter Lewis
Lighting Design by Gary Benson

1 comment:

  1. I'm IMPRESSED!!! You never cease to amaze me Gary!!! I'm so PROUD of YOU!!!