Updated: Oct 30, 2019
The technology of perception.
King Lear is one of the projects of which I am most proud. It is a challenging play and I found myself in a situation where I had the right people in place to stage it. My exploration was driven not only by my love of the play, but from an interest I have in trying to find new ways to improve performance practice. The project involved companion courses, an editing project and an online blog to chart the process. The formal concept I wanted to explore was the idea that pairing professional actors with student actors in a professional training program would benefit both. The results were persuasive. The year following the production, every student performer from the show was either working professionally or in graduate school, and the professional actors all spoke of the inspiration derived from working with emerging artists who offered new perspectives on the craft. Lighting Designer April Viczko taught me a monumental amount about the power of light to tell story, draw focus and capture mood, and the set and light design team supported by Douglas McCullough created a world that enthralled the audience and supported the performers. The greatest achievement however was in sound design. Often neglected in theatrical performance, sound design is one of my favourite parts of Drama. Working with sound designer Colin Barden we created a soundscape that Colin then live mixed during each performance. We recorded the actors in rehearsal and then built the famous storm in the play partly out of Lear’s words. As Lear descends into madness, and his language degrades, and the storm he hears is the echo of his own lost lexicon. We placed speakers throughout the theatre so the audience was enveloped by sound and then added in music that sampled familiar music that was modified to create a compelling, but unsettling musical backdrop to the play.