White Light Sees REDD at the Barbican
Wednesday, 2 October 2019
wl-redd-4-carl-foxPhoto: Carl Fox
UK - White Light has recently supplied the lighting equipment for REDD, a new dance show at the Barbican Theatre.
Devised by the Olivier Award-winning hip-hop partnership Boy Blue, REDD is a piece of dance surrounding the five stages of grief. Told through the movements of nine dancers, it offers an introspective journey into loss and examines how we are affected by those irreversible moments in our lives. It features a lighting design by Charlie Morgan Jones.
Jones comments: “REDD is a beautiful show which takes its audience on an unforgettable emotional journey. In terms of lighting, it’s an interesting piece as there is no actual set! With that in mind, my main brief was to create the five distinct ‘worlds’ of grief - the solitude of depression, the featureless denial, the sharpness of anger, the bold bargaining and the brightness and hope of acceptance”.
This was the first time that Charlie had lit a dance piece, although he emphasises how he “approached this show as I would any other - although I do appreciate the importance of side light in dance pieces”.
Creatively, the team decided that the lighting rig would be on display throughout the entire show, becoming an extra character in itself. As a result, Jones had to draw on equipment that would be artistically appropriate as well as aesthetically attractive.
Jones contacted Jonathan Haynes at WL in order to draw on his perfect rig. He explains: “The bulk of the work on REDD was done with 48 Par Cans with long top hats. I absolutely loved playing with different intensities in order to create the five worlds. It always amazes me quite how different a Par at 60% looks in colour compared to a Par at 30% and I was able to use this variety to create the feel that the show needed.
He continues: “I also draw on 10 ETC Lustrs to bring very occasional colour to the piece and 11 Vipers to highlight moments which demanded a crisper look”.
Due to the nature of the piece, this meant that Jones had to be very adaptable with his design. He explains: “The music and choreography were changing right up until press night due to the enormously creative process. As such, it meant that the LX team had to be completely on the ball - aided by the wonderful CSM, Carly Hook. Similarly, the entire show is run off time code (a new experience for me in a proscenium arch environment), so I spent a great deal of time working out the timings of each of the 400 light cues!”.
REDD has now opened and will run until this Saturday (5 October).
Jones concludes: “This was my first experience of working with Boy Blue and at the Barbican and it was a brilliant process. The in-house lighting team were excellent and enormously helpful and supportive; as was my associate lighting designer, Clancy Flynn. Similarly, the Hire team at WL were once again extremely helpful during the process and only ever a phone call away; support that’s invaluable for any designer”.

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