This is one of the most challenging aspects of what I do. How do I shoot a show I’m IN?
Richard III for The Queens Players at the Secret Theater in Astoria has been an incredible process. Set in a punk rock club in London in the early ’80s, Richard is a tale of acting out and defying social norms and good behavior in the pursuit of power. As with so much Off-Off-Broadway theatre, there hasn’t been near enough time, but skirting immodesty, we’ve got a very talented cast and director (Alberto Bonilla) that have been able to make the most of the time we have. There’s also the band. It is hard to imagine a show that is made worse by live music and these guys bring the music of the era come to life adding an amazing energy to the show.
There’s also the look. Our set IS a nightclub. Everything is perfect. I’ve been in this club before. The band posters and graffiti are so evocative of the era. And then there’s the costume, make-up and hair design. They are dead on. Sue Waller is a serious fashion designer making her first foray into costuming and the aesthetic is right up her alley. Emily Lambert is responsible for hair and make-up design and just knocked it out of the park. As an actor, these things are all wonderful — they help us live in the world of the show without feeling like you’re making excuses for what is not there. The less you have to worry about what is not there or feeling that you’re pretending that you’re in the right setting or the right clothes the easier it is to just be.
And as a photographer? The images come alive! There is no acting when the band is playing — they are a band playing music, it’s honest and dynamic. The actors have such intense looks, it’s hard to get a bad picture of them!
The challenge, as I noted above, is that I’m in the show. I wanted to get the shots, but I couldn’t go into the house and I had to give myself adequate time to prepare for my scenes and make my changes. Unfortunately, this meant I only got coverage of a few scenes. But what I got, I’m really happy with! The lighting is all over the place (in a good way) — straddling theatrical and club lighting, so there are extreme color casts and starkly lit scenes that kept me on my toes, but ultimately added to the overall look.
Nylon Fusion’s double header is coming up in a couple weeks!