This Round’s On Us: Love & Civil Rights
Love Gone Bad
Happy 2014! I know It’s been a few months since I posted last, but I’ve been busy working on the other side of the lens, playing Sir John Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, the reading of a new musical called Wild and Willful Women and King Edwards IV and the Lord Mayor in a Richard III set in the heyday of the London punk scene. But now some of my favorite people are back on the boards and calling me in to shoot.
Nylon Fusion Theatre Company is being particularly prolific right now – they had another of their This Round’s On Us short play festivals, this time with the theme of Love & Civil Rights. The same weekend, they had another short play festival benefitting the ASPCA, called Love Gone Bad, featuring plays by by Neil LaBute, Robert Askins, Kristina Poe and Don Nigro.
These works saw Nylon Fusion move into The Gloria Maddox Theatre at T. Schreiber’s studios. This space had some pros and cons over the Gene Frankel Theatre, where I had shot the prior two iterations of This Round’s On Us. First of all, at the Frankel I had a nice, out of the way seat with access to floor space where my gear could live at easy reach. Not so much here – I had a good seat, in the corner of a very shallow, squared-off U, but I had no choice to keep my gear accessible, but to take an extra seat. These were a hot commodity, as these are always very well attended shows. The way they use the space at the Frankel was also a bit more inventive. Added seats on the stage turned it into an L shaped audience, making directors and actors deal with audience on two sides – I think it forced a little more mindfulness and creativity in staging. Here, it was essentially a proscenium stage, flat to 95% of the audience (except the 3 columns of folks on each of the arms of the U). Still, it is a nice space with decent lighting (yay, decent lighting).
Love Gone Bad presented some unexpected challenges. First and foremost, all of the characters spend at least part of the play in their underwear. My thanks to Nylon Fusion and the actors for letting me post these here — part of my agreement with the production was that all of those shots would need pre-clearance with the company and the actors in the shot. Glory Kadigan, the director, was very protective of her cast — making sure they were each comfortable with being photographed and communicating Nylon Fusion’s requirement about usage of the material. Luckily, this shoot was able to be done during a final dress, literally moments before the house opened to the opening night audience. I think shooting people in their underwear with an audience present (and on opening night!) would have more likelihood of making the actors self-conscious (not to mention you don’t want the audience to feel they have any excuse to take their own cellphone photos). The show consisted of four monologues cleverly tied together with a repeated connecting scene between one of the actors with two of his or her partners, like ghost images of two separate, but simultaneous post-coital repartees. Other than costume, the shoot was fairly unremarkable. The lighting was generally enough to be able to shoot at ISO 5000. Some of the interstitial scenes were lit in a deep red wash, which was challenging, but gorgeous!
Coming up next is The Pearl Theatre Company’s production of No Exit next weekend. Next up with Nylon Fusion will be a March double header of Don Nigro’s A Snowfall in Berlin and John Patrick Shanley’s The Big Funk, wherein they go one step further… nudity.