Posterity

Nashville Repertory Theatre
Johnson Theatre at Tennessee Performing Arts Center
February 2017
Regional 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

Posterity is a new work written by Tony and Pulitzer prize award winning playwright Doug Wright. The show follows a meeting between playwright Heinrik Ibsen and sculptor Gustav Vigland. Vigland is hired to create one of the final busts of Ibsen just prior to his death. The story follows their interaction as they debate the purpose and meaning of artistic legacy through their first interaction and interview in Vigland’s studio to the start of the sculpture in Ibsen’s home study.

The content of Posterity immediately strikes a chord with any artist working on the production. The script explores not only artistic legacy, but also draws focus the basic artistic motivations. The lighting design concept drew inspiration from the line, “What’s left then? Only form and color. It says the artist, the true artist, wants to do more than copy nature. He wants to depict emotion itself.” From these words, the research of the show following the work of Gustav Vigland and Norwegian painters and artists that were active from 1880 – 1910. I was immediately drawn to the stunning, yet reserved color pallets.

I utilized three systems of template washes in warm, cool, and neutral tones which gave the ability to create the impressionistic quality seen throughout the research images. This ability was of the utmost of importance during the more dramatic moments of the show, creating a historical and painterly feel to the compositions. High side systems in warm and cool tones provided isolation and a realistic tone that allowed me to pull out the key moments of the show though very precise isolation and focus.

A great challenge of the production was telling time of day and appropriately lighting the scenic elements and set dressing. The walls of the set became a pallet for the lighting design where allowed me to make subtle coloration and texture changes to slowly and carefully manipulate time of day throughout the production. In addition, a system of LED down light provided a great punch of intensity, but also allowed for subtle and slow color fades guiding the viewer through the journey of the script.