Good Monsters

Nashville Repertory Theatre
Johnson Theatre at Tennessee Performing Arts Center
February 2016
World Premiere Production

Direction by Rene D. Copeland
Costume Design by Trish Clark
Lighting Design by Darren E. Levin
Scenic Design by Gary C. Hoff
Sound Design by Ricky Lighthall
Stage Management by Cecilia Lighthall

Good Monsters is a new work written by playwright Nate Eppler.  The script tells the story of Frank, a police officer who shoots an unarmed teenager in the parking lot of Walmart, working an after-hours security job at the store.  The victim, Zero, is ever present throughout the show in Frank’s psyche as he deals with the fallout from the accident.  Exploring loss, commenting on gun violence, and exploring mental anguish, the script forces conversation about hot button issues in today’s (2015/2016) society by humanizing both sides of the issues.  This world premiere production was produced by Nashville Repertory Theatre, the premier equity acting company of the metropolitan Nashville area.  Good Monsters was produced at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, one of the premier venues in the Nashville area as well as the country.

The lighting design concept for the show emphasizes bridging the gap between realism and psychological moments.  Numerous scenes take place in a realistic tone at Frank’s house as he navigates the fallout from the tragedy (divorce proceedings, lawyer interviews and persuasions, as well as visits from Zero’s father).  However, moments of non-realism are sprinkled through the script as Zero haunts Frank’s psyche and influences his perceptions and reactions to the fallout.  To bridge this gap, I utilized four systems of template in warm and cool tones to create an undulating light quality to the non-realistic moments.

Time of day also plays a large role in the show, especially in the realistic scenes.  The template systems at low and steep angles came into use to recreate fill light for various times of day.  Steep and low angles were selected for the key lighting angles to allow for flexibility to create specific times of day.  A significant amount of the show takes place at night, which dictated careful color selection to achieve multiple times of night in addition to several afternoon scenes.  As the show takes place around the 4th of July, unsaturated ambers, lavenders, and blues were selected to give a full spectrum range of colors.