Fiddler on The Roof has opened at Chichester Festival Theatre and under Daniel Evans’ masterful direction, the show is enjoying great acclaim from critics and audiences alike.
I was delighted to be asked back to join his team for a second time this season to provide a poignant underlining of some of the political themes within the show as a parting gesture through video design. Lez Brotherston’s elegant design hides many surprises that come to play along the way and we worked with Water Sculptures and Ben Arkell to create the surface for the dramatic parting image.
Nina Dunn projects images of the past onto a screen of rain to create a moving finale.
At the end, director Daniel Evans delivers a masterly touch by projecting photos of Russian Jews on to a wall of dropping water. You feel a shiver down your neck. What resilient people the real-life Tevyes must have been.
[…] the projection at the end of thousands of real life, early twentieth century Jewish people driven into exile really hits you between the eyes.
Despite appearances, this is just one of many ways in which video is sued on the show. I worked closely with Daniel Evans and Gillian Tan, my associate, to support David Hersey’s sharp and dramatic lighting with some ‘video by stealth’ throughout. We used the rig as a lighting tool to shape and dress the sharp proscenium and to create moving effects across the stage that help place scenes, adding another layer to Lez and Daniel’s clever use of props (Lily Mollgaard) as ‘poor theatre’ scenery.
For the Dream sequence, we were able to highlight the metal rim of the proscenium with 4 pixels of sharp, unsettling light and then use string-coloured gradients to bleed into the lighting, heightening the moment. By contrast, in the Sabbath prayer we turned the prosc into a gilded picture frame with gentle, soft emphasis emanating from the inside of the frame.
As one reviewer put it:
The show has received a multitude of four and five star reviews and standing ovations and audiences have been leaving the theatre with a tune in their heads whilst wiping a tear from their eyes.