Last week I got to shoot The Pearl Theatre Company’s production of The Rivals under the direction of their new Artistic Director, Hal Brooks. The show is set in its historically accurate period and features sumptuous costumes and furnishings appropriate to the time. The set is a simple, yet effective, proscenium stage with flats adding depth through forced perspective.
One of the challenges of this kind of production, oddly enough, is the time period. It enforces a certain distance between the actors. Some of it is simply that the ladies’ costumes are so large that they physically can’t stand too close to anyone else. Also, social convention prevents too much closeness, especially in public and particularly between the sexes. So while I generally favor my 70-200 mm lens and add in some establishing shots, shots for the scenic designer or large group scenes with the 24-70 mm, this time the roles were reversed. I found myself favoring the 24-70 and using the 70-200 to get a few close individual character shots or intimate shots when the lovers were in private or when the ladies or gentlemen were alone with their own gender.
Luckily, the play does not call for any overly dark settings, so I was able to keep my aperture at an average of f/5.6 which meant a good depth of field and keeping everyone sharp and the colors rich.