White Light recently supplied the lighting equipment for the Old Vic’s production of All My Sons, starring Hollywood legends Sally Field and Bill Pullman.
Written by Arthur Miller, All My Sons is set in 1940s America and tells the story of a family whose lives are shadowed by the losses of war. This latest version is a co-production between the Old Vic and Headlong and features a lighting design by Richard Howell. Richard comments: “Although All My Sons is obviously an iconic play, I had never seen or read it before working on this production. As a result, I was able to approach with it a completely fresh perspective”.
On the show, Richard worked closely with renowned director Jeremy Herrin to achieve the specific feel required. He explains: “In terms of my design, the main challenge was to create three distinct looks for the three acts but to also manage the progression between them in a way that felt natural. Although this play is rooted in naturalism it also has a great lyrical quality. The lighting initially needed to establish a naturalistic world. As the lives of the main protagonists fractured over the course of the play, the lighting had to shift into a more expressionistic visual language”.
Having recently supplied the Glengarry Glen Ross tour which Richard lit, he approached WL to supply the equipment once again on this production.
Richard comments: “The rig mainly utilised MAC TW1s and MAC Viper Performances. The organic, soft quality of light from the TW1 gave a useful sunlight feel for Acts 1 and 2 whilst the colder, harsher quality of light from the Vipers was useful for the more abstract third act. I also use the Robert Juliat DALIS to light the cyc as well as a mixture of ETC Source Series 2 Lustrs”.
Due to the layout of both the venue and the set, this meant that Richard had to configure his design accordingly. He explains: “Practically, there was very little depth behind the cyc and a big truck was stored where the lights would normally be. Thanks to some clever rigging by the lighting team at the Old Vic, we were able to fly the ground row in after the truck had moved”.
The play closes this weekend after embarking on a sell-out run which achieved critical acclaim. It is one of several shows that WL has supplied at the Old Vic over the past year, having worked on Wise Children, A Christmas Carol and The American Clock. The company will also supply the lighting for the upcoming Present Laughter which opens later this month.
Richard concludes: “Once again a huge thank you to WL who have been invaluable in helping us find the exact equipment needed for this production”.
Photos courtesy of Johan Persson.