White Light recently provided the lighting equipment for Gently Down the Stream which has opened to rave reviews at London’s Park Theatre.
Set at the turn of the 21st century, Gently Down the Stream is a delicate examination of the relationship between Beau; a 62 year old piano accompanist from New Orleans, and Rufus; a 28 year old bi-polar lawyer, set over the course of thirteen years in Beau’s London flat. It is written by Martin Sherman, directed by Sean Mathias and features a lighting design by Jamie Platt.
Jamie comments: “The majority of the show is set in Beau’s apartment which is beautifully designed by Lee Newby. We wanted this to feel as real as possible so, as a result, most of the lighting for these scenes was committed to creating a totally naturalistic world. That said, Sean was very keen to make the monologues that are dotted throughout the play feel incredibly poignant and sentimental as they tell us of Beau’s history in dealing with homophobia, AIDS, loss and heartbreak. Therefore, the aim of these moments was to focus on Beau and try to make the flat disappear into the background”.
Having supplied a range of Jamie’s shows throughout 2018, he approached WL once again to provide the lighting on this production. He explains: “I knew I wanted to use the expansive back wall of the Park Theatre as a blank canvas for the monologues. It lends itself so well to washes of colour, and WL offered me the PixelLine 1044 LED battens. These fitted perfectly into the rig and their multi-cell function also allowed me to close down gently to the exact areas I wanted to highlight.
He adds: “I also knew that each monologue was likely to be in a different position on the set so I spec’d two Martin MAC TW1s with narrow lenses. I love the tungsten quality these offer, and the ability to perform a subtle live colour change over a five minute speech was a big plus for me. Finally, I put two Vari*Lite VL1000s into the rig, and I was able to use them to perform live shutter moves to close in on various characters over the show. The lack of fans on the tungsten VLs and the TW1s was of supreme importance from a noise perspective, on such a delicate play”.
This marks the European premiere of the production, with Sean Mathias having also directed the show’s premiere on Broadway in 2017. Jamie comments: “We really wanted to make this version not feel like a copy of the previous production. The Park 200 space offered a vastly different setting (thrust vs pros. arch) and I was keen to use colour in a much bolder way to differentiate the monologues from the naturalistic world in the scenes”.
The show was now opened to rave reviews and will run until 16th March.
Jamie comments: “This has been a fantastic show to work on and we’re proud of the response we’ve received from both critics and audiences alike. I’d like to thank our Production Manager Patrick Molony for doing such as great job as well as Bryan Raven and Simon Arnold at WL for their continued support”.
Photos courtesy of Marc Brenner.