At the centre of David Hare’s play set in the post-war era is Susan Traherne, a former courier operating in France during World War II who struggles to reconcile the mundanity of the peacetime life with that of her wartime exploits. Written just two years before PTSD was first widely recognised as a disorder, the play describes a woman and a country suffering from symptoms of just this kind.
Kate Hewitt directs in such a way as to focus on the central character’s psychological arc through the play. She and designer Georgia Lowe chose to bring Nina on board as Video Designer for the show to help bring this trajectory into sharp and detailed focus in the large festival theatre space.
The video consists of extreme close up and slow motion shots of Susan’s features – lips, hands, eyes – that are projected across the string curtain a the rear of the fragile looking glass stage that reflects her features as they are broken apart and disrupted by the movement between scenes and ultimately the passage of time. The play spans around 20 years of Susan’s life and these interludes help to mark the space between scenes along with female vocals by composer and sound designer, Giles Thomas. The transitions are hen completed with the date of the next episode of the story. Additionally, Nina highlights and dresses the string curtain, making it appear to emit light or be disturbed by an unsettling wind, which helps to also balance out some of the reflected light from the glass stage.
For the shoot, Nina worked with her own Sony a7 camera as well as a RED camera operated by Aurelia Bergs. The video programmer was Harrison Cooke and the Production Co-ordinator for Video was Laura Salmi. Stage Sound Services provided the equipment. Lee Curran designed the lighting for the show.
There is less than a week left to catch the show on its limited run at Chichester (final performance is on 29th June) that has received a host of 4 and 5 star reviews from the national press. You can find out more and book here: https://www.cft.org.uk/whats-on/event/plenty